WASHINGTON Four automakers agreed to a $553
million settlement to address class-action economic loss claims
covering owners of nearly 16 million recalled vehicles with
potentially defective Takata airbag inflators, according to
court documents filed on Thursday.
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 Corp at $68 million.
Lawsuits against Honda Motor Co, Ford Motor Co
and Nissan Motor Co have not been settled, lawyers
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 safety defect has prompted recalls
worldwide of about 100 million inflators by 19 major automakers,
the largest automotive recall ever for a single safety issue.
The four automakers said in a joint statement they had
agreed to settle "given the size, scope and severity of the
Takata recall," but did not admit fault or liability. The
automakers said the settlements, if approved by a Florida judge,
will be overseen by a court-appointed administrator.
The settlement includes a new independent outreach program
that seeks to dramatically increase recall remedy completion
rates and will regularly contact owners.
The settlements also provide compensation for economic
losses resulting from the recall including paying reasonable
out-of-pocket expenses; a possible residual distribution payment
of up to $500, rental cars to the most at-risk owners while they
wait for recall remedies; and a customer support program for
repairs and adjustments, including an extended warranty.
In January, Takata agreed to plead guilty to criminal
wrongdoing and to pay $1 billion to resolve a federal
investigation into its inflators.
As part of the settlement, Takata agreed to establish two
independently administered restitution funds: one for $850
million to compensate automakers for recalls, and a $125 million
fund for individuals injured by its airbags who have not already
reached a settlement.
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
Automakers have recalled 46 million Takata air bag inflators
in 29 million U.S. vehicles. By 2019, automakers will recall 64
million to 69 million U.S. inflators in 42 million vehicles,
regulators said in December. The majority of inflators have not