Nissan agrees to $98 million settlement on Takata economic loss claims

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nissan Motor Co 7201.T on Tuesday agreed to pay $97.7 million to settle class-action claims of consumer economic loss in the United States tied to the recall of 4.4 million vehicles with Takata air bag inflators, court records show.

The logo of Nissan Motor Co is pictured at a showroom at the carmaker's headquarters in Yokohama, Japan May 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

Nissan said in a statement that it was not admitting fault under the settlement.

The settlement is similar t o others reached with major automakers. In June, a federal judge in Miami granted preliminary approval to settlements with Toyota Motor Corp 7203.T, Subaru Corp 7270.T, BMW AG BMWG.DE and Mazda Motor Corp 7261.T totaling $553 million and affecting 15.8 million vehicles with Takata inflators.

At least 18 deaths and 180 injuries worldwide have been tied to the defect that led Takata Corp to file for bankruptcy protection in June. Takata inflators can explode with excessive force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks.

Honda Motor Co 7267.T and Ford Motor Co F.N to date have not agreed to settle consumer economic loss claims.

All the settlements reached so far include an outreach program to contact owners of recalled vehicles and to address the low number of completed repairs, as well as compensation for economic losses including out-of-pocket expenses; a possible residual distribution payment of up to $500; rental cars for some owners; and a customer support program for repairs and adjustments, including an extended warranty.

Nissan said its settlement is “intended to significantly increase customer outreach and to accelerate recall remedy completion rates for Takata airbag inflator recalls.”

As of late June, only 29.9 percent of Nissan vehicles recalled with Takata inflators had been fixed.

The settlement is subject to court approval. A hearing to grant final approval for the other four automaker settlements is set for Oct. 25.

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

As part of the Justice Department 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 had not already reached a settlement.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler