Toyota Follows Honda; Ditches Takata Air Bags

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Friday, Toyota announced it will no longer use Takata air bag inflators in its vehicles.

The automaker joins Honda and Mazda, which ditched Takata as their air bag supplier earlier this week following the biggest automotive recall in U.S. history.

“The inflator using ammonium nitrate produced by Takata will not be adopted by Toyota,” Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a briefing in Tokyo Friday. “What’s most important above anything else is the safety and peace of mind of customers.”

The issue of course is that some of Takata’s air bag inflators containing the chemical propellent ammonium nitrate are defective, and can explode, sending shrapnel flying into cars. The faulty air bags are linked to at least eight deaths, all of them in Hondas. They’ve lead to a recall of 40 million cars worldwide. Only about a quarter of the recalled vehicles have been fixed in the U.S. and the NHTSA is looking for ways to speed up the recalls.

Honda was Takata’s biggest client, and even still owns shares in the company. In fact, Honda convinced Takata execs to get into the air bag business back in the mid-1980s. However, the company distanced itself mightily this week when it first announced it would no longer use Takata inflators in future models.

Mazda soon followed suit by snubbing Takata as well and Automotive News reports that Mitsubishi Motors and Subaru-maker Fuji Heavy Industries may also switch away from Takata’s inflators.

Earlier this week, the U.S. government fined Takata $70 million for mishandling the recall and that number could go up to $200 million if Takata doesn’t phase out the chemical being used and comply with efforts to speed up recalls.

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