Mazda drops Takata as airbag supplier
Mazda announced Thursday that it would no longer purchase Takata airbags for use in any of its vehicles.
The announcement follows one made by Honda earlier this week as the beleaguered supplier faces mounting fines and costs associated with supporting various manufacturers’ recall campaigns.
Mazda’s stance is that it will not trust any inflators produced by Takata that utilize ammonium nitrate as a chemical propellant. Whether Takata offers any alternatives was not made immediately clear in the wire report issued by Reuters, but Mazda’s snub seems to indicate that no such choice is available.
No root cause has been definitively identified in the airbag inflator ruptures, which have been blamed for at least seven deaths and nearly 100 injuries in the US alone. Degradation of the propellant wafers, particularly in regions with high absolute humidity, is believed to be a primary factor.
Takata has defended its use of ammonium nitrate in airbag inflators, arguing that the chemical propellant is perfectly safe, however even new airbags have been subject to recalls for inflators that are prone to rupture and send shrapnel flying through a vehicle’s cabin.
The NHTSA has placed the burden of proof on Takata, requiring the company to validate the safety of ammonium-nitrate inflators installed in existing vehicles across the country. Going one step further, the agency has required the company to phase out ammonium nitrate from its future production plans.
The recalls have affected approximately 19 million vehicles from a dozen automakers.