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Four automakers agree to $553 million settlement to resolve Takata claims

May 20, 2017, 00:22
Four automakers agree to $553 million settlement to resolve Takata claims

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. Four automakers including Toyota and BMW agreed yesterday to pay US$553 million (RM2.39 billion) to settle a U.S. lawsuit over the defective Takata airbags blamed for 11 deaths in the United States alone.

The agreement was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division as part of the multidistrict litigation now being overseen by Judge Federico Moreno.

Takata airbag inflators have been linked to at least 17 deaths and more than 180 injuries worldwide. By 2019, automakers will recall 64 million to 69 million US inflators in 42 million vehicles, regulators said in December.

- Compensation to class members for their economic losses resulting from the recall in the form of reimbursement for reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.

The auto makers that are part of Thursday's deal have agreed to regularly contact consumers to encourage them to participate in the settlement and get vehicles repaired, through phone calls, mail, social media, online alerts and other methods.

Tokyo-based Takata in May 2015 agreed to double a United States recall to a record more than 30 million vehicles made by some of the world's biggest automakers.

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Auto makers will also reimburse some expenses such as for transportation, storing or towing charges, child-care bills and lost wages during vehicle repairs. The recall affects vehicles as far back as the 2000 model year and as recent as the 2016 model year. He added, "We appreciate the efforts of Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru to do right by their customers in reaching these agreements". Manufacturers will provide a rental or loaner vehicle to any qualified owner, and for whom parts won't be available for at least 30 days.

Lawsuits against Honda Motor Company HMC, Ford Motor Company F and Nissan Motor have not been settled yet, per the lawyers.

Toyota's portion of the settlement is the highest, at $278.5 million.

The auto companies cite Takata's guilty plea and the settlement as a "game changer" maintaining they were not aware that the air bags were faulty when they installed them in their vehicles.

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

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