They are the first of 19 affected manufacturers in the U.S. to reach a settlement.
Four manufacturers have reached a settlement totaling $553 million dollars in regards to the largest single automotive recall of all time. BMW, Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota released a joint statement on the matter, stating the settlement would fund a series of programs to “increase recall remedy completion rates for Takata airbag inflators, among other customer benefits.”
Among these initiatives is an outreach program to help speed the recall and repair process, conducted through “traditional and non-traditional means.” A rental car program will offer loaner vehicles to affected customers upon request, or in the event that parts for the recall are not available within 30 days. An out-of-pocket claims and residual distribution program will allow affected customers to request reimbursement for “reasonable out-of-pocket expenses related to the Takata airbag inflator recalls.” Similarly, a fees and administration program will go towards covering various fees – legal and otherwise – involved in the suit and settlements.
In addition to the recall itself, each manufacturer will also offer a customer support program to further cover repairs and adjustments required to correct the inflator issues in affect airbag modules. This, as well as the aforementioned programs, will stand for manufacturer vehicles currently recalled as well as models potentially affected by future recalls.
In the statement, the four manufacturers also expressly denied any liability or admission of guilt for the defect.
Thus far, the Takata airbag recall has directly affected over 42 million vehicles in the United States alone, impacting 19 automakers. Takata pled guilty to criminal charges in January and was hit with a $1 billion fine, and according to Automotive News, the company may now be considering bankruptcy.
Faulty inflators in the airbags can unleash shrapnel at fatal velocities in the event of airbag deployment. The fault has been linked to at least 16 deaths and nearly 200 injuries worldwide.
Source: Subaru, Automotive News