Takata's Airbag Inflator Troubles a Massive Opportunity for Autoliv

NEW YORK (The Street) -- Recalls of defective airbag inflators by a leading Japanese automotive parts supplier are turning into a massive opportunity for a rival. 

Autoliv (ALV), the Swedish-American company based in Stockholm, said Wednesday it was ready to boost production capacity in order to manufacture more airbag inflators to replace those being recalled by automotive supplier Takata (TKTDY). 

A day earlier, U.S. safety regulators doubled the number of potentially defective Takata airbag inflators being recalled to 34 million. Takata reported that a propellant used to inflate airbags may activate with excessive force, causing a metal canister to explode and send shrapnel into the car's passenger compartment. At least six deaths and 100 injuries worldwide are linked to explosions of Takata inflators.

Honda (HMC) has the most recalled vehicles due to Takata inflators. Models built by BMW, Chrysler  (FCAUFord (F), General Motors, (GMMazda, (MZDAFMitsubishi, (MMTOFNissan, (NSANYSaab, Subaru  (FUJHY)and Toyota  (TM) dating back to 2001 also are affected. Prior to doubling the number of cars recalled in the U.S., 36 million vehicles globally were said to be equipped with potentially defective inflators. 

In January, Autoliv said it had signed contracts to replace up to 25 million defective Takata inflators, when the scope of the recall was smaller. Wednesday's announcement raised questions as to how quickly automotive manufacturers could acquire replacement parts in order to assure owners that their vehicles didn't pose a danger in the event of an airbag deployment. 

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