Four automakers, including Toyota Motor Corp., agreed to pay a collective US$553 million to settle claims stemming from rupture-prone Takata air bags, the Wall Street Journal reports
Toyota, along with Subaru, Mazda and BMW, reached the settlement with current and former owners and lessees of 15.8 million vehicles to address lagging repairs and financial losses associated with the air bags, the paper said, citing documents filed Thursday in a Miami federal court.
Takata air bags have been linked to 11 deaths and some 180 injuries in the United States.
Thursday’s settlement doesn’t cover personal-injury cases that are also part of the sprawling litigation against Takata and auto makers that is consolidated in the Florida court.
Automakers are in the process of recalling an unprecedented 42 million vehicles with nearly 70 million Takata air bags in the US.
Takata earlier this year pleaded guilty to criminal wrongdoing for providing misleading testing reports to automakers on the air bags and agreed to pay US$1 billion in penalties.
That includes US$850 million in restitution the Japanese automotive supplier must pay to automakers.
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. Some owners with air bags most at risk of rupturing will be provided rental cars while they await repairs.
Auto makers will also reimburse some expenses such as for transportation, storing or towing charges, child-care bills and lost wages during car repairs.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers earlier this year alleged in court documents that some automakers for years equipped millions of vehicles with Takata air bags to save money despite knowledge the devices could endanger motorists.
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