U.S. regulator expands warning over Takata air bags, more lawsuits filed

Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:12pm EDT
 
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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - The problems for Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp (7312.T: Quote) grew after U.S. safety regulators expanded a warning about faulty air bags to 6.1 million vehicles in the United States while two more lawsuits have been filed over accidents in older Honda cars.

The news came a day after Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) recalled 247,000 vehicles in the United States because of potentially defective Takata air bags that can rupture and spray metal shrapnel at occupants.

"The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urges owners of certain Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors vehicles to act immediately on recall notices to replace defective Takata air bags," the regulator said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Over six million vehicles are involved in these recalls, which have occurred as far back as 18 months ago and as recently as Monday."

The previous NHTSA warning, issued on Monday, covered 4.74 million vehicles, and dragged Takata's shares down 23 percent on Tuesday in Tokyo, the stock's biggest-ever one-day drop.

Its shares were initially up 7.5 percent early on Wednesday, but quickly fell back to trade flat, leaving them down 44 percent so far this year.

In a statement released before the most recent NHTSA warning was issued, Takata said it would cooperate with U.S. authorities and automakers.

Takata said the cost of repairs for the 4.74 million vehicles subject to the NHTSA's earlier bulletin had been set aside, and that any additional costs would be minimal.   Continued...

 
A sign board of Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's Annual General Meeting is seen on a street near the venue in Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino