Report: Airbag maker Takata facing bankruptcy after largest safety recall ever

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Takata air bag deployed
Image Credit: Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Major public scandals that involve physical harm to consumers have a way of taking companies down for the count.

Such is the fate now reportedly facing Takata, the Japanese supplier of those infamous airbags linked to nearly 200 deaths and injuries worldwide.

Read more: Easy way to find out if there’s a recall on your car

Takata looks set to be acquired by Key Safety

We’ve all heard about the massive Takata airbag recall involving more than 100 million airbags by now. More than 46 million of those airbags were recalled in the United States alone.

Yet despite a rash of recalls for several years, Reuters notes that more than 65% of the recalled airbags remain in vehicles on our roads today.

Now The Wall Street Journal is citing sources who say Takata is readying a bankruptcy filing that could come as early as next week.

Many of the company’s assets — minus its extensive liabilities from the ongoing airbag inflator problems — are expected to be acquired by Key Safety Systems, a U.S. airbag manufacturer owned by China’s Ningbo Joyson Electronic.

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that if all the recalled air bags were suddenly to be replaced, the associated costs would run the company some $8 billion!

This not-quite-a-recall issue can score you free car repairs

Recalls are a serious matter. Yet sometimes not everything in the world of car maintenance is a full-blown recall.

Many times when there’s no official recall, there still might be a TSB (technical service bulletin) from the manufacturer.

Thousands of TSBs are issued each year, as automakers become aware of systemic problems reported by mechanics and consumers. You can preview both full-blown recalls and TSBs for your vehicle by make, model and year by visiting the Center for Auto Safety website at AutoSafety.org and also at AllDataDIY.com.

Another good resource to know about for TSBs is SaferCar.gov. In addition, Consumer Reports also has an article about so-called “secret or hidden warranties” that you can get access to when you have a TSB on your hands.

The process is simple: When you know there’s an active TSB on your vehicle, you can take it to the dealership and show them the TSB documentation. They’ll probably already be aware of it.

But the great thing is that when a repair is a known issue like this, you can very often get free or discounted repairs — even if you’re out of the manufacturer’s original warranty period.

Read more: Chrysler recalls nearly 300,000 minivans over faulty airbags

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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