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The deflation of a once prominent manufacturer

Takata, a Japanese equipment manufacturer struggling since a scandal erupted nearly a decade ago over airbag ruptures, announced that it would file for bankruptcy. The defects were tied to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States alone.

The recall itself stumbled out of the gate was poorly implemented and only created confusion and frustration for vehicle owners.

The announcement of the filing, considered the largest ever by a Japanese manufacturing company, effectively seals the fate of Takata. The company founded in 1933 will sell its factories and other assets to Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned American manufacturer of airbags and other auto safety equipment.

The legal move represented the final milestone for a once prominent company crippled by recalls. Other landmark moments in their downfall includes:

  • 2008: What starts as Honda issuing a recall of approximately 4,000 cars to replace Takata-manufactured airbags balloons to two million within three years.
  • 2013: Multiple Japanese automakers join a growing recall, including an additional 3.3 million cars with Takata airbags.
  • 2014: Seven more automakers recall more than three million vehicles worldwide due to the Takata defect.
  • 2015: Seven years after the initial recall, Takata confesses to the defects, ending its longtime denial that the airbag design is a problem.
  • 2016: United States regulators doubled the number of automotive recalls that was already the largest in American history by adding 35 million airbags.
  • January 2017: Takata admits to providing false data to safety regulators, pleads guilty to wire fraud in the United States, and agrees to pay $1 billion.

While Takata owes billions of dollars to banks and automakers paying to replace tens of millions of airbag inflators, the company will not have enough to pay everyone it owes after selling their assets.

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