The company at the centre of the world’s biggest-ever safety recall has finally succumbed to the associated financial pressures.
Takata’s airbag disaster has seen millions of cars recalled in numerous countries due to the possibility that flying metal debris from deployed airbags could cause injury or even death to vehicle occupants.
The Japanese carmakers, including Nissan, Honda, Subaru and Toyota have been hardest hit by the crisis, but it previously seemed Takata might (just) be able to ride out the financial storm.
However, the Japanese parts giant has finally cried 'enough' and filed for bankruptcy, and CNN reports the remains will likely switch to Chinese ownership.
Takata is now US$9 billion in the red. The company’s books took a further hit when Takata agreed to a US$1 billion fine (including a US$125 million fund for victims) by US authorities for allegedly ignoring earlier warnings that its airbags might be unsafe, and a surprising amount of vehicles have now been recalled for a second time when initial repairs were deemed insufficient.
The parts-maker is seeking protection under US and Japanese law while its assets are on the market, and the likely buyer is China’s Key Safety Systems for a reported US$1.6 billion.
"We caused troubles for our supporters, those who cooperated with us and the creditors," Takata Chairman Shigehisa Takada said.
"On behalf of Takata, I apologise deeply from the bottom of my heart."
If you thought Key Safety Systems was getting a bargain for its US$1.6 billion, the transaction looks even rosier when one considers the airbag mess will not be lumped in with the rest of the purchase.
Instead, Takata’s airbag dealings will be wound up once the recall process is complete - or even earlier. Further chunks of Takata will likely be sold to a US investor.
The deals are bad news for the aforementioned Japanese carmakers, and others, who now look certain to pick up the bill for repairing the airbags in their customer’s cars.
MORE: Subaru Adds 33,000 Vehicles To Takata Recall List In Australia
MORE News & Reviews: Takata | Bankruptcy | Recalls