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Automakers settle deadly Takata airbag case for $553 mn

19 May 2017

Toyota Motor Corp.'s share of the settlement costs is $278.5 million, followed by BMW AG at $131 million, Mazda at $76 million and Subaru $68 million.

The settlement will compensate people who own or lease vehicles affected by the air bag recall in a variety of ways, from providing rental cars to those who are deemed to be at the greatest risk to "a possible residual distribution payment of up to $500".

Plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit over defective Takata airbag inflators have reached a settlement with Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW that's worth $553 million. Plaintiffs are still pursuing these suits, as well economic loss claims against Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., according to their lawyers.

The four automakers said in a joint statement they agreed to settle "given the size, scope and severity of the Takata recall", but did not admit fault or liability. As the Two-Way reported at the time of that settlement, "At least 16 deaths, 11 of them in the U.S".

The automakers said the settlements, which are subject to approval by a Florida judge, will be overseen by a court-appointed administrator. Takata also reached a $1 billion settlement with the USA that included a $25 million criminal fine.

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The settlement would compensate owners for things like lost wages or child care while they were taking their vehicle in for the recall fix.

Under the terms of the agreement, the automakers will fund outreach programs with the goal of "significantly increasing" recall completion rates.

Some 15.8 million vehicles now have the defective air bag inflators installed, and the settlement is meant to expedite their removal. NHTSA says only 32 percent of Toyota owners, 31 percent of Subaru owners, 18 percent of Mazda owners and 16 percent of BMW owners had completed the repairs.

Takata agreed pleaded guilty to fraud in February after agreeing to pay a $1 billion penalty.

The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history involving 42 million vehicles.

Automakers settle deadly Takata airbag case for $553 mn