Fearing that even more vehicles equipped with Takata air bags will need repairs, General Motors has a back-up plan at the ready, Reuters reported in an exclusive.
The Detroit, Mich.-headquartered automaker will tell the supplier to share its air bag specifications and data with TRW and Autoliv, two of Takata's competitors.
"Basically, we bought an insurance policy so that the capacity is there if we need it," GM spokesman James Cain told Reuters. "We don't want to be caught short-handed.
"There is only so much inflator capacity in the industry and we need to be prepared, so what we've done is prudent," he said.
A major air bag manufacturer, Takata supplied potentially faulty air bags to at least 10 automakers. Since 2008, more than 21 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide due to problematic inflators that can explode, causing shrapnel to shoot at the vehicle's occupants. The issue has been related to at least five deaths, four of which occurred in the United States.
None of the deaths related to Takata air bags occurred in GM vehicles.
The Japanese supplier, which plans to boost inflator manufacturing to 450,000 parts per month in January, declined to confirm the GM announcement.
"Takata cannot confirm or comment on discussions with particular customers," the company said in a statement quoted by Reuters. "As our chairman has stated, Takata is increasing its production of replacement units and is committed to working with its customers and other air bag manufacturers to increase production capacity even further."
Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi have all recently expanded their Takata air bag-related recalls in the U.S. Initially, carmakers limited their recalls to regional campaigns in areas with high humidity since the faulty air bags seem to rupture in humid weather.