The lawsuit linked to the largest safety recall in US history settled with the US Justice Department for $1 billion. Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud for providing falsified data around the safety of their airbags.
Takata airbags can become over-pressurized, causing them to rupture and propel pieces of metal into the cabin of the car. Takata claimed that its airbags were safe when in reality they used a highly unstable and combustible chemical compound, ammonium nitrate.
The Takata airbag recall has affected 42 million vehicles worldwide and has been linked to at least 11 fatalities and more than 180 injuries in the United States. 34 car brands are affected by the recall including Ford, Toyota and Honda.
US prosecutors have also charged three Takata executives with producing false test data to hide the defect in the company’s airbags. The indictment claims that the executives were involved in attempts to manipulate airbag safety data for up to 15 years and knew that the airbag’s metal inflators could explode as early as 2000.
The settlement is comprised of $125 million to compensate victims, a $25 million criminal fine and $850 million to compensate automakers for the mass recall.
To check if your vehicle is included in the safety recall, go to www.recalls.gov.