Toyota, 3 other automakers settle suit over Takata air bags

by Linda Olson May 20, 2017, 0:43
Toyota, 3 other automakers settle suit over Takata air bags

Owners of almost 16 million vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags are eligible for financial assistance in getting their vehicles fixed and up to $500 in compensation under the terms of a new consumer settlement with several automakers.

The latest development in the Takata airbag story arrived on Thursday and included four automakers, almost 16 million vehicles and more than $500 million in settlements.

"The low number of recalls to-date demonstrates the need for a settlement of this type, and we look forward to accelerating the removal of defective Takata airbags from the roads", said Peter Prieto, the court-appointed chair lead counsel, who helped negotiate the settlement.

The settlement highlights the knock-on effect of the recalls, which began around 2008 and covers about 100-million inflators around the world used in vehicles made by 19 auto makers. The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history involving 42 million vehicles and 69 million air bag inflators.

The settlement also comprises an outreach program to contact owners, compensation for economic losses including out-of-pocket expenses, as well as a possible residual distribution payment of up to $500. Additionally, compensation will be provided to class members who suffered economic losses as a result from the Takata airbag recall, such as vehicle rentals. "We appreciate the efforts of Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru to do right by their customers in reaching these agreements, and we look forward to the court's approval so implementation can begin soon".

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

According to Toyota, the agreement will reimburse plaintiffs for travel costs while their cars are repaired. Over 100 million vehicles worldwide have been recalled. The automakers agreed to provide rental cars to owners most at risk, including those with older vehicles or living in humid areas like the Southeast or Hawaii. Toyota had the highest, with 9.2 million affected cars and trucks; Subaru came next, with 2.6 million; BMW followed, with 2.3 milliom; and Mazda came in at a still-significant 1.7 million vehicles with the systems.

Lawsuits against Honda, Ford and Nissan have not been settled, lawyers said. Takata has been seeking a buyer or financial backer for a year.

In January, Takata agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and to pay $1 billion to resolve a federal investigation into its inflators.

The settlement comes in the wake of mass recalls of airbags produced by Japanese company Takata.


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