Takata has agreed to pay $1 billion after pleading guilty to criminal wrongdoing in connection with defective air bag inflators that were prone to exploding upon deployment.
The announcement comes as thirteen automakers recall an additional 652,000 vehicles throughout the United States as a result of an injury hazard relating to faulty air bag inflators made by the Japanese auto parts manufacturer
According to reports, Takata has pleaded guilty to criminal wrongdoing in a billion dollar settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its handling of air bag ruptures connected to 16 fatalities worldwide. Among the charges acknowledged by Takata was “wire fraud”, or providing false test data to U.S. regulators.
In 2015, Takata admitted in a $70 million settlement that it had been aware of a defect in its air bag inflators but failed to issue a recall in time, specifically stating that it had provided both automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) with “selective, incomplete or inaccurate data” since at least 2009.
According to unnamed sources, this latest settlement, separate from the previous one, involves a $25 million criminal fine, $125 million in victim compensation, and $850 million in compensation to automakers who have suffered considerable losses due to these significant recalls.
According to CNBC, the Takata-made inflators can explode with excessive force, consequently able to blow apart a metal canister and propel shrapnel into the passenger compartment, thus posing a potential injury hazard to passengers. So far, at least sixteen people around the world have died as a result of this issue, and 184 more people injured in the U.S. as of late January 2017.
U.S.-based automakers who have issued the recall as of this Thursday include Audi, Nissan, Jaguar-Land Rover, Subaru, Daimler Vans, Tesla, Mitsubishi, BMW, Ferrari, Mercedes, Mazda, McLaren, and Karma. This recall currently stands as the largest auto recall in U.S. history, involving a total of 69 million inflators and 42 million vehicles.
Car owners are advised to stop driving their vehicles, go to the National Highway Traffic Administration’s official website and contact