NEW YORK: Units of Honda Motor Co have agreed to pay $85 million to settle an investigation by most US states into its use of defective Takata airbag inflators in its vehicles, according to a consent order made public yesterday.
The state probes are connected with the ongoing recalls of tens of millions of vehicles equipped with potentially defective Takata inflators that were sold by Honda and other major auto manufacturers over the past 20 years.
To date, more than 40m US vehicles equipped with 60m defective Takata air bags have been recalled because the inflators can explode when deployed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At least 25 deaths around the world and nearly 300 injuries have been linked to faulty Takata inflators.
Worldwide, the Takata recalls cover about 100m inflators among 19 major automakers, including Honda. In January, Honda said it would recall an additional 2.7m older US vehicles in North America for potentially defective Takata inflators. That recall covers Honda and Acura automobiles from the 1996 through 2003 model years.
Honda said it was aware of one field rupture of an inflator in the new recall campaign – a 2012 crash in Texas that resulted in an injury – and two in junk yards in Japan.
In the settlement announced yesterday, American Honda Motor Co and Honda of America agreed to upgrade their product safety procedures related to frontal airbags, including to reduce the risk that their inflators could rupture.
The Honda affiliates agreed to the consent order without admitting wrongdoing and to avoid the cost of further litigation, the automaker said. Court approval is required. Honda confirmed it had reached civil settlements with 46 US states, Washington, D.C. and three US territories over the matter.