Steering wheels accounted for 17 percent of Takata's revenue in the company's financial report from April-September, according to Bloomberg; airbags were the biggest part of its business at 37 percent. However, the supplier's stock price has plummeted 40 percent this year, and a major investor dumped shares after Takata execs' refusal to discuss the scandal. The allegedly weakening demand for steering wheels can only worsen the supplier's already poor financial situation.
Automakers have also started to abandon Takata's airbag components for future vehicles. Longtime partner Honda officially dropped the company as a supplier in early November, and Toyota and Mazda made similar decisions soon afterward. Ford did the same at the end of that month.
Takata's exploding inflators have possible links to eight deaths and about 100 injuries. Experts believe the ammonium nitrate propellant in them is partially to blame because exposure to moisture can eventually cause the parts to ignite too quickly. The company accepts mandates by US and Japanese regulators to phase out the use of the chemical, but it still faces a class-action lawsuit from owners over the faulty components.