Honda has decided to go with a competitor of Takata to supply air bags for its next Accord sedan in the United States, according to a Reuters report.
Honda, currently Takata's largest customer, will now use air bags made by Toyoda Gosei for the Accord, which is scheduled to go on sale in late 2017. The news marks the first of probably many major defections by the automaker since Takata's issues started.
After Takata's safety crisis involving air bags forced Honda to recall more than 21 million vehicles around the globe, it's no surprise the automaker is making the switch now. All three of the companies have decided not to comment on the news yet, though we do know what Toyoda Gosei will provide for the Accord.
Toyoda Gosei will supply all driver's-side air bags, along with curtain and knee air bags for the North American version of the Accord. Honda's decision to change sides for the most important vehicle of its largest auto market is a huge blow for Takata, but Honda didn't have much of a choice.
Last month, Honda confirmed that it had signed a deal with Autoliv to start making replacement parts for recalled vehicles starting before the end of 2015. The Japanese company has also had talks with inflator maker Daicel Corp.
Takata air bags made for at least 11 automakers have been recalled over a defect that makes them dangerous in the event an accident occurs. Vehicle occupants have reported that metal shards shot out when Takata air bags delayed, and the so far the defect has caused at least five deaths and dozens of injuries.
Honda has recalled 13 million vehicles since 2008 equipped with Takata air bags, including 10 million in the U.S. alone, according to Reuters.
In 2014, Honda sold around 388,000 Accords in the U.S., or a quarter of the automaker's total U.S. sales. Takata has supplied air bags for the Accord since the 2000 model year in the U.S.