Autoliv Inc., the world’s largest supplier of automotive airbags, says it has signed contracts with several automakers to deliver up to 25 million inflators to fix potentially defective airbags produced by Takata Inc.
In a statement Wednesday, Autoliv said it will produce the inflators this year and next, and is in discussions with automakers to deliver millions more.
On Dec. 3, Autoliv confirmed plans to produce replacement inflators for Honda, but the Swedish supplier has not identified its other customers.
To produce the inflators, the company said last month that it would expand its factory complex in Utah. Expansion costs likely will range from $30 million to $50 million, according to an estimate last month by Autoliv.
Autoliv said it would take six months or so to expand production.
Honda and other automakers are urgently seeking inflators because Takata can’t produce replacements quickly enough to meet demand. About 24 million vehicles with Takata airbags have been recalled globally since 2008, according to Reuters' estimates.
In a Sept. 16 report to the National Highway Traffic Administration, Takata disclosed that it expected to produce nearly 1.5 million replacement inflators through February -- well short of the number required to supply ten automakers that have issued recalls.
To boost output, Takata has built two new production lines in its plant in Monclova, Mexico. Those lines were scheduled to launch production this month. Takata expects to boost monthly output to 450,000 units, up from 300,000 today.
At the higher rate, it still would take about two years to produce enough Takata inflators to fix all recalled vehicles in the U.S.
While Takata boosts production, Honda and other automakers have sought out rival suppliers like Autoliv, Daicel Corp. and TRW Automotive Holdings.
On Oct. 18, Reuters reported that Honda would buy some replacements from Daicel, the world’s fourth-largest inflator supplier. TRW Automotive Holdings, the world’s No. 3 producer of inflators, also has confirmed that it’s willing to produce replacements.
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