automotive industry

Volkswagen reaches $42-million settlement with US owners over Takata airbags

Reuters
Volkswagen reaches $42-million settlement with US owners over Takata airbags

VOLKSWAGEN. People walk past an ID. Store X showroom of SAIC Volkswagen in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, January 10, 2021.

Yilei Sun/Reuters

The Volkswagen settlement, like earlier ones, covers rental car and out-of-pocket costs that owners had or may face getting vehicles repaired or while awaiting repairs

Volkswagen‘s US unit has agreed to a $42-million settlement covering 1.35 million vehicles that were equipped with potentially dangerous Takata airbag inflators, according to documents filed in US District Court in Miami.

The settlement is the latest by major automakers and much of the funding goes to boosting recall completion rates. To date, seven other major automakers have agreed to settlements worth about $1.5 billion covering tens of millions of vehicles.

VW did not immediately comment.

The defect, which leads in rare instances to airbag inflators rupturing and sending dangerous metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in history.

To date, at least 19 US deaths have been attributed to faulty Takata airbag inflators. Honda Motor Company said in April it had confirmed the 19th US death tied to a ruptured Takata airbag inflator since 2009 – and the 16th in one of its vehicles.

Honda reached an earlier $605-million civil settlement with owners similar to the Volkswagen settlement.

More than 400 injuries are also tied to faulty Takata inflators and at least 28 deaths worldwide. There have been two US Takata deaths in Ford Motor Company vehicles and one in a BMW.

Ford previously reached a $299.1-million civil settlement with owners, while BMW agreed to a $131-million settlement.

The Takata recalls cover about 100 million inflators among 19 major automakers worldwide, including about 67 million inflators in the United States.

The VW settlement, like earlier ones, covers rental car and out-of-pocket costs, including lost wages and childcare costs, that owners had or may face getting vehicles repaired or while awaiting repairs.

Court documents say around 35% of the inflators in Volkswagen and Audi vehicles that have been or will be recalled have not been repaired.

Peter Prieto, a lawyer for the owners who sued, said the owners would “vigorously prosecute our claims against Mercedes Benz, General Motors, and FCA to ensure that our clients obtain the relief they deserve.”

GM, Daimler AG, and FCA parent Stellantis did not immediately comment. – Rappler.com

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