VW reaches $42 million settlement with U.S. owners over Takata air bags

Posted on September 02, 2021

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) – Volkswagen’s (VOWG_p.DE) U.S. unit has agreed to a $42 million settlement covering 1.35 million vehicles that were equipped with potentially dangerous Takata air bag inflators, according to documents filed in U.S. 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 air bag inflators rupturing and sending dangerous metal fragments flying, prompted the largest automotive recall in history.
To date, at least 19 U.S. deaths have been attributed to faulty Takata air bag inflators. Honda Motor Co (7267.T) said in April it had confirmed the 19th U.S. death tied to a ruptured Takata air bag 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 U.S. Takata deaths in Ford Motor Co (F.N) vehicles and one in a BMW (BMWG.DE).
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 (GM.N), Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) and FCA parent Stellantis (STLA.MI) did not immediately comment.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney
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