Takata Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan and the U.S. and said it would sell most of its operations to a rival, capping the steep decline of an 84-year-old Japanese company nearly nine years after it began a global recall of rupture-prone automotive air bags.
At least 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries have been linked to the defect, which causes the air bags to explode with too much force and spray shrapnel into vehicle cabins.
What began as a limited recall in some parts of the U.S. in late 2008 expanded globally and would eventually grow to cover millions of vehicles. The recall of 42 million vehicles in the U.S. is the largest ever.
Takata’s bankruptcy protection filing by the parent company in Japan early Monday and a chapter 11 filing for its U.S. subsidiary in Delaware late Sunday allow the company to attempt to stabilize its finances. Takata also unveiled a preliminary agreement to sell almost all its assets to Key Safety Systems Inc., a Michigan supplier owned by a Chinese company, Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp. , for nearly $1.6 billion.