What is Takata, and what is wrong with my airbag?

AUSTRALIAN drivers may be driving a long road of frustration as an international recall on potentially-deadly driver airbags comes to our shores.

Early predictions suggest up to 500,000 cars could be affected.

AIRBAG RECALL: Special Coverage:

It includes cars built by Australia's most-loved carmakers including Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Chrysler, Ford and GM (Holden).

Here is what you need to know about those behind it:



Takata is an automotive parts company firm headquartered in Japan.

Its sales were expected to top AUD$6.7 billion by the end of this year.

It employs about 35,000 people.

They are most famous for their development and sale of the first "two point" seatbelts in 1960. The company later went on to become a massive distributor of airbags to car manufacturers.

One in five airbags in cars were sold by Takata.

Its top five customers are Honda, Volkswagen, General Motors (Holden), Renault Nissan and Fiat Chrysler.



In short: yes.

In 1995 Takata was forced to recall seat belts installed in 8.4 million cars built in Japan, including models built between 1986 and 1991.

The seatbelts were found - in some Honda cars - to not latch properly, latching then releasing automatically, or the seatbelt releasing in accidents.

This was later extended to a variety of Japanese built cars, including Isuzu, Mazda, Nissan, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi and Subaru.

A range of Dodge, Ford and General Motors cars were also affected.

It was later discovered that UV light caused the seatbelt plastic to weaken.

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believed Takata knew about the hazard five years before the recall but never reported it.


THIS LATEST ISSUE: How long has it been going on?

It's not clear yet. But this is not a new problem.

The New York Times reports drivers reported being struck by "metal shards from the canister that housed the air bag's propellant" in 2010. She was driving a 2001 Honda Civic.

In 2013 Japanese automakers plus BMW recalled 3.6 million cars in relation to this issue.

Last year, Toyota extended its own recall by 2.3 million vehicles - some for a second time - because Takata said it kept inadequate records.

At the time, Honda believed there were 30 injured and two killed in the US due to the Takata air bags.

Takata has acknowledged a defect exists in its air bag deflators and ruptures have been blamed for six deaths worldwide.



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