With embattled airbag supplier Takata fighting for its reputation, one could assume automakers are jumping ship. Yet, that isn’t happening as rampantly as one would think, as both GM and Ford still use Takata’s products.
For the uninitiated, major airbag supplier Takata is currently facing scrutiny for the way in which it is handling exploding airbags. The automotive supplier ignored the problem and then tried to hide it for years. Now, the news is out and the firm is facing lawsuits, Senate hearings, a plummeting stock price, and a national recall of its products. All of these things would suggest the company could be meeting its demise, right? Not so fast, apparently.
Even with all of the negatives stacking up against Takata, a recent Bloomberg story suggests that the firm will be just fine for several reasons, including the fact that the supplier carries a variety of products. In fact, roughly 39 percent of the firm’s revenue is comprised of airbag sales, while a big chunk of the remaining 61 percent is derived from seat belts.
In addition, automakers rely on Takata for advanced products that can’t be found elsewhere. For example, Ford partnered with Takata to develop the adaptive steering system found in the upcoming 2015 Ford Edge. The system is being widely marketed by Ford and is at the heart of the features list of the new vehicle. Quickly severing ties would be disastrous for Ford. And if (when) The Blue Oval finds a new supplier for the adaptive steering, it may take a year or longer for it to make the switch… just for that feature alone.
These kinds of long-lasting partnerships, along with a variety of products outside the airbag sector, will help Takata weather the storm. Yet, both Ford and Takata, along with other automakers, will likely take a hit to their reputations.