More bang for the buck

The air bag business is making a transition. For years demand exceeded supply, but now the opposite is true, and that's forcing a "paradigm shift" in the industry, says Jim Erickson, manager- advanced development programs for Morton Automotive Safety Products. Besides competing in technology, capacity and safety issues, air bag suppliers increasingly will have to focus on becoming the lowest-cost

The air bag business is making a transition. For years demand exceeded supply, but now the opposite is true, and that's forcing a "paradigm shift" in the industry, says Jim Erickson, manager- advanced development programs for Morton Automotive Safety Products. Besides competing in technology, capacity and safety issues, air bag suppliers increasingly will have to focus on becoming the lowest-cost producers. Like other major suppliers, however, air bag producers also are getting much more engineering responsibility. Morton currently is putting the finishing touches on an $8 million expansion of its automotive technical center in Rochester Hills, MI, including a second crash-test sled.

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