Takata Corp. has commenced implementing stricter quality controls on a group of parts suppliers as the Japanese company ramps up output of replacements for millions of airbags suspected of being defective and fatal, people privy with the matter told Reuters.
In the past two months, Takata has commenced a series of "urgent" inspections across its supply network, dispatching managers to parts makers in Japan and Asia to disclose the changes, sources said.
One of the people involved said that during an October closed-door meeting between Takata executives and over 100 suppliers, the company said it would send representatives to inspect 40 suppliers of key parts before the end of 2014 and audit the rest of them next year.
While suppliers say the inspection process was pretty much the same as regular quality checks made by Takata, they noted the speed and the unusual sense of urgency with which inspections have been announced.
"They came to my factory within one, two weeks from setting the date," the source told Reuters. Takata has yet to determine the root cause of a defect with its airbags that could make some of them prone explode during accidents and shoot shrapnel inside vehicles.
Five deaths have been tied to the faulty Takata airbags, all installed in Honda vehicles. Over 20 million vehicles globally have been recalled and Takata has been under probe from the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and federal prosecutors and under from US lawmakers.