Tata wants supplier to develop $10 airbags for the Nano

It's nothing new to have automakers pushing suppliers to cut their component costs. For the past decade and a half, many companies have demanded suppliers provide price reductions of 3 to 5 percent a year, every year, with varying degrees of success. India's Tata Motors is taking these efforts to a whole new level. In order for Tata to build a new car with a retail price of only $2,500 they need component prices an order of magnitude cheaper than other cars. One example is airbags. While Tata wants the Nano to be a very basic car, it wants it to still meet safety standards. The problem is that frontal airbags cost about $150 each. At that level, a pair of airbags would account for more than 10 percent of the cost of the car, clearly a non-starter. As a result, Tata has asked occupant safety systems supplier Autoliv to develop airbags that cost only $10 each. How or if Autoliv will get down to that price point remains unclear. It seems that features like two-stage airbags and systems that detect the presence of a passenger to disable the bag if there is no one there will have to be left out. In any case, it'll be interesting to see if Autoliv and Tata can pull this one off. Thanks to Asif and Yash for the tip!

[Source: The Economic Times, The Earth Times]

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