Takata Has Finally Settled Consumer Protection Cases With States, Agreed Not To Be Scummy
At this point, it seems like it has been a long time since Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata’s products were revealed to degrade in humidity, eventually turning its lifesaving airbags into shrapnel-throwing grenades. However, the fallout from the initial discovery is still ongoing, as suppliers struggle to replace the millions of dangerous, defective airbags, and Takata has been in negotiations with 44 states and Washington, D.C. over consumer protection claims.
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This second ongoing issue, though, is no longer an open question, as Takata has finally reached a settlement, to the tune of $650 million. Well, sort of.
Unfortunately, although Takata has reached an agreement with the states, it doesn’t have the money to pay up just now – it has already declared bankruptcy. On that note, the states have agreed not to collect so that victims of the faulty airbags could themselves get a bigger amount of the remaining money, with the exception of South Carolina, which led the investigation and will receive over $139,000 to cover the costs.
In addition, as part of the deal, Takata has agreed not to call its airbags safe unless backed up by scientific evidence, not to falsify any test data, to keep cooperating with automakers to replace the dangerous products, and not sell any more of the ammonium nitrate inflators which caused this whole mess. These, some sharp-eyed readers might notice, are things that the company should have been doing from the start.
This is just the latest in a long line of heavy, crushing setbacks for the airbag inflator supplier – recall costs alone are enormous, but there are also millions in fines as officials accuse the company of concealing safety issues related to the airbag inflators, eventually leading to the 22 casualties (at least/so far) and more than 180 injuries.
News Source: New York Times (subscription required)