TOKYO Oct 5 U.S. auto parts maker Key Safety
Systems said on Wednesday that it planned to double revenue in
Japan by 2020 by winning over new air bag customers as many
automakers have stopped using air bag inflators made by
embattled supplier Takata Corp.
The world's fourth-largest air bag maker is among five
bidders offering a financial lifeline to help Takata bear the
costs of a massive global recall of its exploding air bags,
people with knowledge of the process have told Reuters.
All five bids require Takata to file for bankruptcy
protection, they say.
KSS declined to confirm whether it was among the bidders,
although the company in June said it was discussing a potential
investment with Lazard, the investment bank Takata has hired to
lead its financial restructuring.
KSS CEO Jason Luo said he planned to increase revenue from
Japanese automakers to 10 percent of total global revenue by
2020, from 5 percent at the moment, focussing on research and
development and manufacture of air bags and also automated
"We're looking at M&A opportunities and also technological
alliances," he told Reuters in an interview.
The Michigan-based KSS, whose origins go back 100 years as a
supplier of steering wheels for Ford's Model T, is planning to
expand its Japanese customer base, which includes small-volume
customers such as Isuzu Motors and Suzuki Motor Corp
Earlier this year, KSS was acquired by Chinese auto parts
supplier Ningbo Joyson Electronic Corp, which
produces components from electronic control units to rear-view
mirrors to both domestic and foreign manufacturers.
KSS's biggest global clients include Ford, Fiat
Chrysler Automobiles and Volkswagen.
Air bag modules, which include the bag itself and a
chemical-based inflator, are KSS's biggest selling product,
accounting for around 56 percent of annual revenue.
Luo said he planned to win new business by offering an
alternative supply of air bag modules to automakers, including
Japanese ones, which have stopped using Takata inflators in new
vehicle models and for replacement parts.
He said KSS's strategy differs from competitors including
Sweden's Autoliv, the world's largest air bag maker
which has ramped up its inflator production capacity in a bid to
leverage replacement supply into new contracts.
"The inflator is just part of the air bag ... I would rather
replace the whole air bag and not just the inflators," Luo said.
(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)