The ongoing saga of embattled airbag supplier Takata makes it seem like automakers will be switching to other suppliers. Yet, that is not what is happening. Several automakers like GM are continuing to use their products. In case you missed it, airbag supplier Takata is facing a large class-action lawsuit and a U.S. Senate hearing. Its stock price is also plummeting and there are some demanding a national recall of all their airbag products. The big problem for Takata beyond the exploding airbags is the company tried to hide the problem. Conventional wisdom says these problems could ultimately lead to its eventual downfall.
Not so fast, say reports. While the current news is about Takata airbags, those products make up just 39 percent of its business. There is another significant chunk coming seat belts as well. Plus, they offer specific airbag products, manufactures may not be able to find elsewhere. General Motors, for example, worked with Takata to develop the unique front center airbag found in models like the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave.
This airbag took years to develop and future GM vehicles are deeply entwined in other cutting-edge Takata products. GM can’t simply walk away from Takata without losing years and millions/billions in development costs. While the airbag recall looks bad on the entire industry, GM has to be hoping Takata weathers the storm. If they don’t, the setbacks could be enormous.