Takata asks automakers to shoulder portion of air bag recall costs


Auto parts maker Takata Corp., which is at the center of a global recall crisis over faulty air bags, has asked Japanese automakers to shoulder a portion of the recall costs, sources familiar with the matter said.

The plan was revealed Friday, the same day Takata said it returned to profitability in the April-December period. The request is likely to provoke the automakers, which have been critical of Takata’s slow response to the crisis caused by the deadly fault in its air bag inflators.

Automakers have recalled more than 50 million vehicles around the world since 2008 because Takata’s air bag inflators occasionally explode upon activation, spraying shrapnel into passengers. Regulators have linked 10 deaths to the defect.

The automakers are the first to shoulder the recall costs, which a Japanese government source put at a minimum of ¥400 billion ($3.42 billion).

The Tokyo-based parts supplier and the automakers are expected to decide on how to share the burden after the cause of the defect is identified.

Takata is believed to have asked the automakers to absorb some of the costs of the recalls ordered from February onward, according to the sources.

And for recalls ordered over the past month, Takata appears to have conveyed to the automakers its intention to limit payments to what it can afford, the sources said.

Takata Chairman and President Shigehisa Takada recently decided to quit his post to take responsibility for the crisis.