Supplier Takata Corp. is scrambling to ensure that its automaker customers receive airbags after a series of four explosions rocked its Mexican airbag operations last week.
The blasts originated in the airbag propellant storage area of the plant in Ciudad Frontera, about 125 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
The blasts were so powerful that they damaged the adjacent airbag inflator assembly plant, Takata spokesman Alby Berman said Tuesday. No one was killed or injured in the blasts late last week.
"We expect to meet customer demand with our components or with those of a competitor," Berman said. He declined to identify the competitor who offered aid.
Berman said no automaker customer has cut production for want of Takata airbags. Takata supplies Honda, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Nissan, Toyota and DaimlerChrysler.
Honda spokesman Ed Miller said Tuesday the company doesn't expect any supply issues to arise from the Takata explosion.
Major North American competitors in the business include Autoliv North America Inc., TRW Automotive Inc. and Key Safety Systems Inc.
The automakers are approaching the supply base about potential solutions just in case, says a spokesman for a Takata competitor. It will take days before the full extent of the problem realized.
Takata ships much of its airbag components aboard trains, so the company has considerable inventory in route at any given time.
Takata has mobilized engineers and other to determine the cause of the blasts. Fears of further explosions prompted Mexican authorities to evacuate an estimated 8,000 households within a mile of the factory, according to news reports from Mexico.
Takata also has begun a full safety inspection of its plants and parts making processes around the world.
Berman says the effects of the blast were minimized by the earthen berms surrounding the propellant storage facility. A few slight injuries were sustained during the evacuation.
Takata operates 48 plants in 16 countries. The privately held Takata does not disclose detailed financials. The company ranks No. 27 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 suppliers to North America with North American original-equipment automotive parts sales of $1.68 billion in 2004.
You may e-mail Robert Sherefkin at [email protected]