Takata's lethally defective air bags proved to be the company's undoing Monday. But it could take years to get the dangerous devices off the road in the U.S. and around the world. Crushed by lawsuits, fines and recall costs, the Japanese auto parts supplier filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo and Delaware and will sell most of its assets for $1.6 billion to a rival company.
A small part of Takata will continue to manufacture replacements for the faulty air bag inflators. The problem, though, is that 100 million of the Takata inflators worldwide have been recalled, 69 million in the U.S. alone in the biggest automotive recall in American history.
It will take the industry years to produce that many replacements. In the meantime, millions of car owners are forced to nervously wait for someone to fix a problem blamed for at least 16 grisly deaths worldwide, 11 of them in the United States. Many owners have been put on waiting lists by their dealers until the parts arrive.