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Takata air bag settlement delivers $553M to consumers for economic losses

Owners of nearly 16 million vehicles with potentially defective Takata air bags are eligible for financial assistance in getting their vehicles fixed and up to $500 in compensation under the terms of a new consumer settlement with several automakers.

Certain Toyota, Mazda, Subaru and BMW vehicles equipped with Takata air bags that could explode in a crash are included in the $553 million deal aimed at covering economic losses.

People injured because of the exploding air bags are already eligible for compensation under a separate fund.

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Plaintiffs attorneys who negotiated the latest accord said Thursday that the deal is a sensible step toward removing dangerous air bag inflators from the road and easing the financial impact on consumers.

The deal, which must still be approved by a federal judge, will cost Toyota $278.5 million, BMW $131 million, Mazda $75.8 million and Subaru $68.3 million.

Ford, Honda and Nissan did not sign onto the deal, meaning their legal dispute over economic loss claims connected to Takata air bags will continue.

Among the possible benefits for current and former owners of the 15.8 million affected vehicles:

  • Payments of up to $500 apiece.
  • Free rental car for use while awaiting repairs.
  • Reimbursement of reasonable expenses, including transportation, towing and lost wages or childcare costs, accumulated as a result of the recall.

The deal also involves a ramped-up outreach program to convince people to get their cars fixed. Owners will be notified when the settlement is finalized.

The accord comes after Takata recently pleaded guilty in federal court for its handling of the scandal. The company agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties, including funds for people injured as a result of the air bags, which have been linked to at least 16 deaths globally.

The potentially defective airbags, which can spray shrapnel into occupants, are on more than 42 million vehicles worldwide. The episode has triggered the largest recall in U.S. history.