Beleaguered Takata Sells Bulk of Assets for $1.6 Billion

Much of the money to be used by bankrupt airbag maker to pay government penalty in fraud case.

byKate Gibson|
Beleaguered Takata Sells Bulk of Assets for $1.6 Billion

Takata, the distressed Japanese airbag manufacturer, has signed a definitive deal to sell the bulk of its assets to a Chinese competitor for $1.6 billion.

Takata and Key Safety Systems, which reached an understanding on the sale in June, announced the final agreement in a news release on Tuesday. The accord is expected to close in early 2018.

Key, a smaller airbag maker based in Sterlings Heights, Michigan, was itself purchased last year by Chinese automotive conglomerate Ningbo Joyson Electric.

Under terms of the deal, Key will receive all Takata assets other than those involved with making airbag inflators. Slammed by costs related to lawsuits and recalls, the Japanese company, which filed for bankruptcy in June, will continue those operations until they shut down.

A substantial portion of the money will cover a $1 billion fine related to a U.S. criminal fraud case that stems from a massive recall of vehicles outfitted with Takata airbag inflators, which can explode and send shrapnel spewing into motorists and passengers.

At least 13 Americans have been killed by the defective airbags, and auto manufacturers continue efforts to get motorists to bring their vehicles in for repairs.

In Florida, state transportation officials this month said it had sent notices to more than 41,500 owners of certain 2001-2006 model year Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, urging them to stop ignoring recall notices.

The state's heat and humidity increase the chances of an explosion of the airbag inflators, the Florida Department of Highway and Motor Vehicles warned.

Separately, Honda is reportedly using Facebook's data-mining capabilities to find owners of vehicles impacted by the Takata recall.