Takata Corp., the world's No. 2 supplier of airbag inflators and a company once considered too big to fail, is rapidly losing control of the recall crisis.
Last week was a turning point. Regulators and automakers announced plans to conduct independent engineering tests of Takata's inflators. They also took steps to expand the recalls -- even though Takata said it isn't necessary.
Their actions made clear that they object to Takata's adversarial approach with U.S. regulators. And Takata has done itself no favors by failing to find the cause of the defects -- and by doling out information slowly to the media.
In Japan, Takata's top executives have avoided public appearances, adding to the growing perception of an out-of-touch company losing control of events.
On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Takata bluntly informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it would resist the agency's demands for a nationwide recall of its driver-side airbags. And that's when the roof caved in.