Takata files for bankruptcy protection

TOKYO — Takata has filed for bankruptcy and is selling most of its business to an American rival after failing to recover from one of the worst auto safety scandals ever.

Analysts had long warned that Takata could be forced into bankruptcy because of the huge cost of a deadly exploding air bag crisis, which resulted in the recall of tens of millions of vehicles around the world.

The company’s defective air bag inflators, which can explode and send shrapnel into drivers and passengers, have been blamed for 11 deaths in the U.S. and several others elsewhere.

Takata said Monday it’s seeking bankruptcy protection in Japan, where it’s based, and in the U.S.

Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned company based in Michigan, is paying $1.6 billion for nearly all of Takata’s operations.

But it’s staying away from the parts that deal with the air bag inflators, which will eventually be wound down.