Japan’s Takata: From parachutes to airbags to bankruptcy


In this Nov. 6, 2014, file photo, child seats manufactured by Takata Corp. are displayed at a Toyota Motor Corp.’s showroom in Tokyo. On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, an outside panel hired by embattled air bag maker Takata Corp. said the company lacks processes to improve product quality including air bag inflators that have been blamed for at least 11 deaths and 139 injuries. AP File Photo

TOKYO, June 26 (Reuters) – Takata Corp, at the centre of the auto industry’s biggest ever product recall, filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Japan, and said it would be bought for $1.6 billion by U.S.-based Key Safety Systems.



Following are key events in the company’s history:



1933 – Takezo Takada starts Takata Co, maker of lifelines for parachutes.


1960 – Takata starts making two-point seatbelts.


1987 – Takata begins producing driver’s side airbag modules.


1989 – Takata TK Holdings Inc unit set up in North Carolina.


Late 1990s – Takata starts developing airbags with ammonium nitrate-based propellant in the inflators.


Early 2000s – Some managers in the company become aware of inflator failures, including ruptures. Test report data was altered to hide this from carmaker customers.


2003 – Takata learns of a rupture during airbag deployment in a vehicle in Switzerland. Does not report incident to U.S.

transport authorities.


Before 2008 – Takata learns of a series of ruptures in the field, determines production issues as possible cause. Internal emails show executives discuss manipulating test data.


2008 – Honda Motor Co recalls 4,000 Accords and Civics globally over Takata inflators that can explode with excessive force, spewing shrapnel into passenger compartments.


Around 2009 – Senior Takata executives become aware of falsified test data being provided to at least one automaker. No disciplinary action taken at the time.


2010 – Honda expands recalls.


2013 – Toyota Motor Corp, Honda, Nissan Motor Co , Mazda Motor Corp, BMW recall around 3.4 million vehicles globally.


May, 2014 – Takata tells U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ruptures appear to reflect long-term exposure to high humidity and processing issues.


June – Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda expand recalls, bringing total recall to 10.5 million vehicles. NHTSA opens probe. Takata says nothing to indicate inflator safety defects.


October – NHTSA expands U.S. recall to 7.8 million vehicles.


November – New York Times reports Takata ordered technicians to destroy test results showing cracks in inflators. Democratic lawmakers call for criminal probe.


February, 2015 – NHTSA fines Takata $14,000 a day for not cooperating fully with agency probe.


May – NHTSA says Takata admits some inflators faulty. Some automakers expand recalls; Chrysler, Mitsubishi Motors Corp, Fuji Heavy Industries, General Motors Co join recalls, pushing global total over 31 million vehicles.


November – Takata agrees to halt new contracts for ammonium-nitrate inflators in the United States, phase out manufacture and sale of such inflators without desiccant. Honda says Takata misrepresented, manipulated tests. Honda, Toyota others say they will stop using Takata inflators.


February, 2016 – Takata names an outside steering committee to develop a comprehensive restructuring plan while continues to supply recall inflators.


May – NHTSA recalls another 35-40 million inflators, on top of 29 million already recalled. Takata says has hired investment bank Lazard to lead the restructuring.


June – Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada, grandson of founder, says he will resign after a “new management regime” is found.


July – Honda says initial audit finds Takata engaged in widespread manipulation of test results for Honda inflators.


January, 2017 – Takata pleads plead guilty to U.S. criminal wrongdoing, agrees to pay $1 billion fine. Federal grand jury indicts three Takata executives on wire fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly convincing automakers to buy faulty inflators.


May – Takata posts a full-year net loss of 79.6 billion yen, its third straight annual loss, over rising inflator replacement costs.


June 26 – Takata files for bankruptcy protection in the United States and Japan. Key Safety Systems named as financial sponsor. Takada says he and top management will resign when takeover complete, expected in early 2018.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by William Mallard and Himani Sarkar)

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

latest stories