Takata report focuses air bag responsibility on U.S. arm

By By David Shepardson and Paul LienertFeaturesReuters

Japanese supplier Takata Corp <7312.T> said its U.S. arm, not the parent company, was largely responsible for designing, testing and producing tens of millions of defective air bag inflators, according to an internal report released on Friday by U.S. safety regulators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a series of reports into Takata's defective air bag inflators, which have been linked to at least 14 deaths and more than 100 injuries and sparked the largest ever auto recall.

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About 100 million Takata air bag inflators have been declared defective worldwide. In the United States, nearly 70 million inflators have been declared defective.

The reports released Friday include a Takata internal report that looks into the Japanese company's handling of the issue since the inflators were first produced in 2000 as well as outside experts' analysis of the defect.

In one event detailed in the internal report, Takata said it failed to inform the NHTSA when it learned in 2003 of the rupture of an inflator in Switzerland. A U.S. engineer at Takata asked if that incident should have been disclosed to the NHTSA in 2010, but it was not. Reuters reported on the 2003 incident in December 2014.

Shares in Takata fell this week after a media report said some of the company's bidders are considering the possibility of some form of bankruptcy proceedings for the company.

People with direct knowledge of the bidding process told Reuters in late August that Takata would take initial bids from potential rescuers, including Japanese chemical maker Daicel Corp <4202.T>, China's Ningbo Joyson Electronic <600699.SS> and global funds KKR & Co and Bain Capital LP.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)