Takata Corp., in a race to meet a huge backlog of orders for replacement airbag inflators, plans to double production to 900,000 units a month by September.
Company spokesman Jared Levy confirmed Tuesday that Takata is boosting output of replacement inflators for automakers that have recalled nearly 25 million vehicles since 2008.
According to Levy, Takata has completed the ramp-up of two new assembly lines at a plant in Monclova, Mexico. That expansion has raised monthly production of replacement inflators to 450,000 units, up from 300,000 units.
Now Takata is expanding again. Levy said the company’s global network of plants will produce 900,000 units a month, without specifying which factories will produce them.
Takata is under heavy pressure from U.S. regulators, automakers and rival suppliers to boost production quickly.
Goaded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, several automakers have expanded recalls that initially focused on hot, humid markets such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands.
At a monthly production rate of 450,000 units, Takata would need a couple of years to fill the order backlog.
As Takata struggles to boost production, rival suppliers are stepping up. Autoliv Inc., the world’s top airbag producer, confirmed last month that it has signed contracts with several automakers to deliver up to 25 million inflators to fix potentially defective airbags.
Autoliv said it will produce the inflators this year and next, and is in discussions with automakers to deliver millions more.
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.