Takata lawsuit alleges 5 automakers knew of defects, kept using parts

"The actions of certain Takata employees to undermine the integrity of the company's testing data and reporting to customers were deeply inappropriate". That would've caused delays in the supply of replacement airbag inflators needed to carry out the largest automotive recall in US history.

Closure with the Justice Department wraps up the criminal portion of Takata's auto safety recall, which was the largest in history, and allows it to proceed with its hunt for a buyer.

Most of the funds that Takata ponies up-around $850 million-will be allocated to automakers to help them pay for costs associated with the long, drawn-out recall of fatally flawed airbags.

"It was only a matter of time that Takata would have to establish a fund to compensate victims of its exploding air bags as a step towards closing this ugly situation", Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Autotrader, said in an email.

The government blasted the 70-year-old company in a statement.

According to the company's admissions, Takata began developing airbag inflators that relied upon ammonium nitrate as their primary propellant. The filing says the allegations are partly based on auto company documents.

"[The automakers] 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", the status report alleges. Volkswagen is scheduled to appear in court to formally plead guilty, as a company, on March 10. He said that according to federal sentencing guidelines Takata could have been charged up to $1.5 billion in fines. Toyota declined to comment.

Auto makers have deeper pockets than Takata for plaintiffs' seeking legal awards and are paying significant sums to recall and fix vehicles.

Nissan switching to Takata inflators to save roughly $4 per unit. Worldwide, the total number of inflators being recalled is over 100 million.

Today, attorneys representing victims of Takata airbags also accused Ford, Nissan, Honda, BMW, and Toyota of knowing about this defect for years and doing nothing about it.

Takata Corp had been accused of knowingly using faulty airbag inflators despite being aware of their safety risks.

  • Eleanor Harrison