Takata Beefing Up Replacement Airbag Production, Again

Just as federal regulators caution that it could take years before the nearly 34 million recalled vehicles equipped with Takata airbags that can spew shrapnel upon deployment are replaced, the Japanese auto parts maker says it expects to speed up its output of replacement parts by year’s end.

Takata plans to make one million replacement inflators per month by September, Reuters reports. The increase represents just 100,000 more parts than the company previously expected to be making by that time.

The parts supplier had announced back in March that it would work to double its current replacement production from 450,000 to 900,000 parts per month by September.

A spokesperson for Takata says the company has produced 3.8 million replacement kits since manufacturers began recalling vehicles with the potentially deadly airbags last year.

But 3.8 million is just a drop in the bucket when considering the nearly 34 million vehicles in the U.S. and millions more worldwide awaiting new airbag inflators.

As Takata has attempted to increase the availability of replacement kits by boosting production and working with other suppliers, some car manufacturers have sought to take matters into their own hands, Reuters reports.

General Motors, for example, said last year that it would deal with a shortage in replacement parts by asking Takata to share inflator information with rival suppliers Autoliv and TRW.

A spokesperson for the automaker says there hasn’t been much progress on a deal but that additional testing is currently underway.

As for rival suppliers, Autoliv says it has already boosted production capacity and expects to produce 25 million airbag inflators for delivery in 2015 and 2016.

A company spokesperson says they are currently working to provide replacement parts for Honda, which was previously the largest customer for Takata.

Reuters reports that smaller Japanese-based parts maker Daicel has plans to build a second U.S. plant to specifically produce alternative airbag inflators for Takata customers. The company is reportedly providing some parts for Honda and Toyota.

UPDATE 2-Takata to boost production of replacement air bag inflators [Reuters]

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