MEXICO CITY/TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Takata Corp., the airbag supplier at the center of a recall crisis, was told by Mexico’s government to take 171 measures to improve health and safety at a plant tasked with making millions of replacement air bags.
The Aug. 13 inspection of the factory in Monclova, Mexico, was prompted by Takata’s problems complying with a self-management program on health and safety in the workplace, the nation’s labor ministry said in a document dated Dec. 1 and e- mailed to Bloomberg News on Tuesday. The ministry didn’t elaborate on the measures Takata should take.
The world’s largest automakers are counting on Takata and the Mexico factory to produce replacement airbags for the more than 13 million vehicles recalled worldwide to replace the devices. Honda Motor Co. has reported five deaths in its cars tied to the airbags, which automakers also have said are injuring motorists by rupturing during deployment, hurling metal and plastic shards at passengers.
Takata has identified flaws in manufacturing and quality control at the Mexico plant and two U.S. factories that have contributed to its airbag problems. At the Monclova facility, the chemical propellant wafers that lead its devices to deploy were exposed to moisture, raising risk of combustions that break up metal and plastic airbag parts.
Production of airbag replacement kits will rise to more than 450,000 a month beginning in January, from about 300,000 now, Hiroshi Shimizu, Takata’s senior vice president for global quality assurance, said at a Nov. 20 Senate committee hearing. The Mexico factory is supplying all of the kits for the U.S. market, he said.
“Takata deeply regrets the injuries and fatalities that have occurred in accidents involving ruptured airbag inflators,” Chairman Shigehisa Takada said in an e-mailed statement Tuesday.
The grandson of the company’s founder said Takata will increase production “wherever possible” in facilities in Asia and Europe to supplement output from the Monclova plant. Takada, 48, also assigned global engineering chief Claus Rudolph to examine whether competitors’ air bags could be used as replacements.