Japanese airbag-maker files for bankruptcy

Visitors walk behind a logo of Takata Corp on its display at a showroom for vehicles in Tokyo, Japan, November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Japanese car parts maker Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Japan.

It is facing billions of dollars in liabilities over its defective air bags, which have been linked to at least 17 deaths worldwide.

Some of the air bags contained faulty inflators which expanded with too much force, spraying metal shrapnel.

US-based Key Safety Systems (KSS) has bought all of Takata’s assets, apart from those relating to the air bags.

The $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion) deal was announced after the Japanese firm filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US, with similar action taken in Japan.

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“Although Takata has been impacted by the global air bag recall, the underlying strength of its skilled employee base, geographic reach, and exceptional steering wheels, seat belts and other safety products have not diminished,” said KSS chief executive Jason Luo.

More than 100 million cars with Takata air bags, including around 70 million vehicles in the US, have been recalled since concerns first emerged in 2007.

The faulty air bags are believed to have been manufactured between 2000 and 2008 in Takata’s US factory. The first explosion happened to a Honda Accord in 2004 in Alabama, injuring the driver.

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