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$200M Settlement Imposed on Takata for Defective Air Bags



Washington, DC: The Department of Transportation' National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued two orders regarding defective Takata air bag inflators. The orders impose the largest civil penalty in NHTSA' history for Takata' violations of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and for the first time use NHTSA' authority to accelerate recall repairs to millions of affected vehicles. Additionally, the actions prioritize recalls so the greatest safety risks are addressed first, and set deadlines for future recalls of other Takata inflators that use a suspect propellant unless they are proved to be safe.

The Consent Order issued to Takata imposes a record civil penalty of $200 million and requires the company to phase out the manufacture and sale of inflators that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant, which is believed to be a factor in explosive ruptures that have caused 7 deaths and nearly 100 air bag injuries in the United States.

Of that $200 million fine, $70 million is payable in cash. An additional $130 million would become due if Takata fails to meet its commitments or if additional violations of the Safety Act are discovered.

The Consent Order also lays out a schedule for recalling all Takata ammonium nitrate inflators now on the roads, unless the company can prove they are safe or can show it has determined why its inflators are prone to rupture.

As part of NHTSA' Consent Order to Takata, the company has admitted that it was aware of a defect but failed to issue a timely recall, which is consumer fraud and a violation of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. In connection with the Consent Order, NHTSA also issued findings that Takata provided NHTSA with selective, incomplete or inaccurate data dating back to at least 2009, and continuing through the agency' current investigation, and that Takata also provided its customers with selective, incomplete or inaccurate data.

The order also imposes unprecedented oversight on Takata for the next five years, including an independent monitor selected by NHTSA to assess, track and report the company' compliance with the phase-out schedule and other requirements of the Consent Order, and to oversee the Coordinated Remedy Program.

Separately, the Coordinated Remedy Order issued to Takata and the 12 vehicle manufacturers involved in the existing Takata recalls directs them to prioritize their remedy programs based on risk, and establishes a schedule by which they must have sufficient parts on hand to remedy the defect for all affected vehicles. The order also establishes a Coordinated Remedy Program under which the agency will oversee the supply of remedy parts and manage future recalls with the assistance of an independent third-party monitor.

In the Coordinated Remedy Order NHTSA is using for the first time legal authority which was established in the 2000 TREAD Act to allow the agency to accelerate safety defect repairs if manufacturers' remedy plans are likely to put Americans at risk. NHTSA announced in June that it was considering use of that authority, and has since gathered information and comment from vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers and the public as part of a proceeding to determine whether and how to best address recalls involving more than 23 million inflators, 19 million vehicles and 12 automakers.

Under the Coordinated Remedy Order, vehicle manufacturers must ensure they have sufficient replacements on hand to meet consumer demand for the highest-risk inflators by June 2016, and to provide final remedies for all vehicles – including those that will receive interim remedies because of supply and design issues – by the end of 2019.

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Published on Nov-4-15


READER COMMENTS

Posted by
Valerie
on
publicized (2013) and never received anything in the mail about a recall until I inquired about it myself. It took months and months for me to get my car in for repairs......May 2015, because I was constantly told that the parts and repair was not available to me in this region (Virginia) because it was first come, first serve for the Gulf states first. By the time (months after I complained to DOT and Toyota headquarters) they finally got my car in which was May of 2015, it still took months for me to get my car back; I was in rental cars compliments of Toyota, from May until August of 2015.

When I was told that the parts had finally come in and that my car was repaired I had mentally gotten used to driving a brand-new (2014-2015) Toyota for almost three months, that when the dealership who repaired the airbags, TOLD ME I WOULD ONLY GET A 12-MONTH WARRANTY ON THE AIRBAGS, I was very, very suspicious and apprehensive about driving with those airbags with only a 12-month warranty so my back was up against the wall to buy a new car.

I could not afford a new car note and I had no real problems with my 2004 corolla except the airbags, so, in a way I feel like I was railroaded into buying a new car which will probably lead me into filing bankruptcy in the near future, because I can no longer afford other bills that I have!

Posted by
Tomecia Thorn
on
I was in involved in a accident on the 7th on November. I own. 2015 Ford F-150. A woman left her lane and into mine because a ambulance and a fire truck were coming from a t-intersection thus giving us no reaction time to stop because she slammed on her brakes to stop. We impacted doing between 35-40mph. My airbags did not deploy, however, the plastic housing for the side impact on the front passenger popped off and the air/smoke from the airbag filled the cab but no airbags. The airbag light was on. My vehicle sustained over $11,000.00 worth of damage to include a bent frame. The other vehicle, a dodge car only sustained $4,000.00. The woman was definitely at fault however we were cited for the accident. And she got out of the car cursing and screaming instead of asking if anyone was ok. I have prior issues from a rollover in Afghanistan in 2006, and I sustained even more neck and back issues because of this. I am active duty along with the driver I allowed to drive my truck at the time. I contacted FORD, my insurance company USAA and my Lein holder regarding this issue. Ford I believe is trying to avoid a lawsuit for defective vehicle. And my insurance pretty much told me to deal with it. They told me to trade in or sell the truck. The body shop had diagnostics ran with Ford software for the airbags and found the airbags and sensors never worked! I do not feel safe going back into this vehicle! And I will not put my family back into this vehicle! I also will not pay for a vehicle I do not feel safe in. I am needing some help in this matter.

Posted by
Ada Wildeman
on
I am a senior and I was very concerned when I heard about the air bag recall on my 2013 Ford Fusion. Is there compensation re the recall?

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