Sun, Sep 03, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Honda to settle airbag case for US$605m

AP, DETROIT, Michigan

Honda Motor Co and some of the people suing the company over faulty Takata Corp air bag inflators have agreed to a US$605 million settlement.

The settlement, which must still be approved by a federal judge, covers owners of 16.5 million Honda and Acura vehicles that used the inflators dating back to 2001. They could receive up to US$500 per person.

Under the deal, Honda gets credit for spending US$121 million on rental cars for customers who had to wait for parts. That leaves US$484 million. Of that, Honda is to spend as much as US$199 million over four years finding owners with unrepaired cars and encouraging them to get the inflators replaced.

The rest goes to attorney fees and to reimburse owners for expenses such as rental cars and lost wages. Owners will have to apply to a court-appointed administrator to get money. They can also file claims that their cars dropped in value. If money is left after other expenses, owners could receive the US$500.

Takata inflators can explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister and spewing shrapnel. At least 19 people have been killed worldwide due to the problem, which touched off the largest auto recall in US history, involving up to 69 million inflators.

Honda expects customers will receive over US$80 million. The company said it agreed not to contest an application by plaintiffs’ attorneys for fees of up to 30 percent of the settlement, for a total of US$181.5 million.

US District Judge Federico Moreno in Miami is to make the final decision on where the money will go.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers have already settled with Toyota Motor Corp, BMW AG, Mazda Motor Corp, Subaru Corp and Nissan Motor Co and are pursuing claims against other automakers.

The settlement does not cover injury or death claims.

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