Toyota plans to buy 13 million air-bag inflators from Kayaku Co

Toyota Motor Corp’s newest effort to reduce its risk from potentially lethal air-bag inflators supplied by Takata Corp involves purchase of millions of them from smaller parts maker Kayaku Co.

The Japanese car maker talked to the second-tier supplier to boost production in a bid to supply more than 13 million inflators from next July until 2020. The move is a pragmatic approach, prompting more than 10 automakers to issue a recall of tens of millions of vehicles since 2008 to replace Takta air bags.

Eight deaths are believed to have resulted from Takata air-bag inflators and more than 100 injuries after exploding with excessive force, spraying shrapnel inside vehicles.

Automakers are taking the burden of most recalls on themselves while the roost cause is determined. Lawmakers in the US have requested Takata to issue a recall for all cars equipped with the company’s air bags. This could affect more than 50 million cars on US roads.

The amount of Nippon Kayaku purchases has been calculated from the number of vehicles with Takata-made inflators likely to pose danger as the cars age over the next few years.

Nippon Kayaku inflators are meant for replacement of the high-risk ones with newer inflators. “Toyota wouldn't want its business with Takata to disappear ... This is a strategy where it's trying to maintain business and reduce risk”, said Takaki Nakanishi, chief executive of Nakanishi Research Institute, which specialises in the automotive industry.

Daicel finance previously received help from Honda Motor Co to increase production to meet demand for replacement air bags.