Chinese Company Aims To Capitalize On Takata Crisis

Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp. is one of the largest auto parts suppliers in China and already lists GM and Volkswagen among its customers.

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Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp. is one of the largest auto parts suppliers in China and already lists GM and Volkswagen among its customers.

Joyson, however, is not a major player in the market for airbags, which was long dominated by Swedish company Autoliv — the industry leader — German firm ZF Friedrichshafen and Japan's Takata.

Problems at the latter company, however, could change those circumstances for Joyson, according to a Bloomberg report.

Takata is in the midst of massive recalls of its airbag inflators, which can explode and send shrapnel into vehicle interiors.

The defect is blamed for at least 11 deaths — including 10 in the U.S. — and further vehicle recalls are likely. Mounting costs could bankrupt the company, especially without cooperation from leading Japanese automakers.

(Image credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)(Image credit: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

"All of this has given us a heaven-sent opportunity to enter the industry," Joyson CEO Tang Yuxin told Bloomberg.

Joyson last month paid $920 million to acquire Key Safety Systems, a Michigan-based manufacturer of advanced auto safety products that had already bolstered its airbag production in response to the Takata crisis.

In addition to taking advantage of current market turmoil, implementing Key's technologies could capitalize on a market for driver assistance features that is expected to double over the next five years.

Joyson also hopes to develop safety systems for autonomous vehicles.

“There’s a long way to go but we aim to establish ourselves among the top three suppliers in these areas," Tang added.

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