Automakers settle deadly Takata airbag case for $553 mn

Under the provisionary settlement, Toyota agreed to pay $278.5 million, BMW $131 million, Mazda $75.8 million and Subaru $68.3 million.

Four automakers agreed to a $553 million settlement to address class-action economic loss claims covering owners of almost 16 million recalled vehicles with potentially defective Takata air-bag inflators, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

Plaintiffs' attorneys said Thursday the automakers have agreed to pay $553 million to settle a lawsuit filed in federal court in Miami. Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. have not been settled, lawyers said.

There are four sections of the proposal, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. These costs can include rental cars, child care, lost wages, or any other reasonable costs associated with bringing in a vehicle for repairs.

A recall of vehicles fitted with the Takata airbags began in 2013, due to a safety defect which meant inflators could explode with excessive force and potentially launch shrapnel into cars.

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Air bags developed by Takata can rupture violently, shooting metal shards toward the car's occupants, and were installed in 42 million vehicles that were sold in the United States.

Further, a new independent outreach program that seeks to dramatically increase recall remedy completion rates will be established.

Just over 30 percent of Toyota and Subaru vehicles have been fixed, and that number is under 20 percent for Mazda and BMW, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

With the criminal settlement and penalties set in the United States, where most of the air bag-related fatalities and injuries have occurred, Takata is continuing its search for a buyer or financial backer, a process that has dragged on for a year. Takata also reached a $1 billion settlement with the US that included a $25 million criminal fine. The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in US history involving 42 million vehicles and 69 million air bag inflators.

  • Delia Davidson