4 CARMAKERS AGREE TO PAY US$553M
But Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru not admitting to fault or liability
FOUR carmakers have agreed to a US$553 million (RM2.4 billion) settlement to address classaction economic loss claims covering owners of nearly 16 million recalled vehicles with potentially defective Takata airbag inflators.
The deal came to light after court documents were filed on Thursday.
Toyota Motor Corp’s share of the settlement costs is US$278.5 million, followed by BMW AG at US$131 million, Mazda Motor Co at US$76 million and Subaru Corp at US$68 million.
While the settlement does not mean an end to legal headaches faced by Takata Corp or its carmaker clients, the resolution could help the embattled Japanese airbag maker’s efforts to search for a financial sponsor by removing one litigation uncertainty.
Shares of Takata, which was not named as a plaintiff in the case, jumped 20 per cent in Tokyo yesterday.
Takata has been searching for more than a year to find a financial sponsor to pay for costs to replace its inflators, which are at the centre of the auto industry’s biggest-ever recall.
“This is a settlement between us and our customers,” said a Tokyo-based spokesman for Mazda.
The four carmakers who settled said in a joint statement they agreed to the deal “given the size, scope and severity of the Takata recall”, but did not admit fault or liability.
The settlement includes an outreach programme to contact owners; compensation for economic losses including out-ofpocket expenses; a possible residual distribution payment of up to US$500; rental cars for some owners and a customer support programme for repairs and adjustments, including an extended warranty.
In January, Takata agreed to plead guilty to United States charges of criminal wrongdoing and to pay US$1 billion to resolve a federal investigation.
The majority of the airbag-related fatalities and injuries have occurred in the US. Carmakers have recalled 46 million Takata airbag inflators in 29 million US vehicles.
By 2019, carmakers will recall 64 million to 69 million US inflators in 42 million vehicles, regulators said in December.
Most inflators have not been fixed. Reuters