Next up: a sale of the financially hobbled company. And in a turnabout for Japan, Takata's new owners could be from abroad — underlining a shift in the country's once-hostile attitude toward outside buyers.
American officials said on Friday that Takata had agreed to plead guilty to charges of wire fraud for providing false data and would pay a $1 billion fine. They also charged three Takata executives with fabricating test data to mask a potentially fatal airbag defect.
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The unexpected charges against the executives were a rare escalation by American prosecutors pursuing a company, a reminder that Takata and its executives could still be dealing with the scandal for some time to come.
The guilty plea will hurt the company's ability to defend itself against lawsuits brought by shareholders and consumers. The fines and costs associated with the scandal have also taken a heavy financial toll.
Still, the deal announced on Friday goes a long way toward resolving a crisis that has been looming over Takata. The company's airbags have been linked to at least 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States. They also led to the largest recall in automotive history, affecting more than 40 million vehicles in the United States alone, and undermined Japan's reputation for turning out safe, impeccably manufactured products.