Regions

Takata downplayed air bag crisis and lost major investor because of it

December 9
2:58 AM 2015

How Takata Corp. handled their air bag crisis is the very reason why they lost one of their biggest investors, Sawakami Asset Management.

In a statement published from Bloomberg News, Sawakami's fund manager, Takahiro Kusakari, said they could not help but feel Takata's management is not trustworthy. "We felt Takata had a 'we are needed and our products are needed, so the business will come back and the situation won't be that bad' kind of attitude, downplaying the issue."

Sawakami sold the last of its Takata shares in October before the US crackdown over the company's faulty air bags. Sawakami's holding to the company has reached 1.2 million shares, which is bigger than how much Honda Motor Co. owns this day.

Following the footsteps of other large auto manufacturer companies such as Honda, Nissan and Toyota by renouncing Takata's ammonium nitrate air bags, Ford has also dropped the air bag company as their supplier, according to Journal Recorder. The recalled vehicles due to Takata's ammonium nitrate inflators in the US alone have reached 19.2 million, but experts say there could be millions more.

Takata's air bags have shrapnel or metal fragments that killed eight drivers around the world and injured hundreds more. Other than that, the chemical inside the air bag deteriorates if exposed to airborne moisture for a long period of time. It will catch fire and cause the metal canister to blow apart, even when its design purpose was to contain an explosion.

A Nissan vehicle driver has recently been injured in Japan because of the air bag. As a result, the Japanese transport ministry has finally ordered the phase out of ammonium nitrate air bags production.

According to The Mainichi Japan report, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has also ordered the phase out of selling air bags with the same chemical compound. They have instructed to stop the installation of these faulty air bags on new car models and to immediately retire the ammonium nitrate air bags on existing and recalled car units.

The ministry has given automakers a deadline from June 2016 to December 2018.

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