20 May, 2017
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 airbag inflators, according to court documents filed on Thursday.
In yesterday's settlement agreement, which still requires court approval, Toyota will pay US$278.5 million, BMW US$131 million, Subaru US$68.3 million and Mazda US$75.8 million.
Takata Corp inflators, which can explode with excessive force and unleash metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks, are blamed for at least 16 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide.
The Takata airbag inflator recall is the largest such action in history and affects more than 42 million vehicles in the United States, across 19 automakers. The episode has triggered the largest recall in USA history.
BMW, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota have agreed to a settlement to fund consumer outreach, rental auto and out-of-pocket cost reimbursement programs for owners of affected cars, according to a joint statement. Instead, the four auto-makers will compensate economic-loss claims, provide loaner vehicles, and pay owners up to $500 with leftover funds.
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.More news: U.S., China reach deals on access for beef, financial services
The goal of the settlement is to increase recall remedy rates for cars fitted with the inflators.
Auto makers will also reimburse some expenses such as for transportation, storing or towing charges, child-care bills and lost wages during vehicle repairs. Over 100 million vehicles worldwide have been recalled.
Owners of almost 16-million vehicles made by Toyota, Subaru, BMW and Mazda are eligible for compensation. 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.
Lawsuits against Honda Motor Company HMC, Ford Motor Company F and Nissan Motor have not been settled yet, per the lawyers.
Takata earlier this year was hit with a $1bn in criminal penalties to resolve an investigation into the inflators, after pleading guilty to criminal wrongdoing.
The solution for a mass recall on defective Takata airbags is under way, though it seems to be far from over.