Takata is being forced to pay a $1 billion settlement for its crimes - but automakers could also get caught in the crossfire.
The Takata airbag recall ranks as the largest recall in US history, affecting over 42 million vehicles. At least 16 people were killed by the faulty airbags which would explode and shower occupants with metal, and over 100 injuries were reported. The worst part? Takata lied about it for over a decade. Now, the Japanese airbag manufacturer is paying the price, and has plead guilty to a criminal fraud charge, admitting that it intentionally sold airbags to automakers despite being aware of the fatal fault.
Takata is being ordered to pay a $1 billion settlement. $850 million in compensation will be paid to the automakers, along with a $20 million fine. Part of the settlement also includes a separate $125 million fund, set up to compensate affected victims and families. Of course, this is by no means the end of the story. Takata is still facing numerous lawsuits which could cost them millions. Detroit News also reports that these lawsuits are being aimed at Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Ford and BMW, alleging that these auto manufacturers were fully aware of the faulty airbags, yet continued to use them because they were cheap.
"They were focused on the low price of Takata's inflators and concerned that if they stopped using (them), they might not have a sufficient supply, which would prevent them from selling vehicles and generating billions of dollars in revenue," an attorney said. Meanwhile, Takata is still seeking a buyer – failure to do so will likely see the company collapse. No doubt this won't be the last we hear about the deadly Takata airbag scandal.