Four automakers have agreed to pay American vehicle owners and lessees a total of $553 million to settle a class-action lawsuit seeking compensation for economic losses arising from the Takata air bag recall, the companies said. The automakers are BMW, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota.
The money will be used to reimburse customers for out-of-pocket expenses, such as for rental cars, and for court costs tied to the lawsuit. As part of the settlement, the companies also agreed to make rental or loaner vehicles available to eligible customers that have vehicles covered by the recall. Additionally, the money will help fund efforts to boost Takata safety recall completion rates.
The settlement, however, is still subject to approval by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The agreement was filed in court on Thursday, May 18.
Progress on the Takata safety recall — the largest vehicle recall in U.S. history — has been slow because of inadequate supplies of replacement air bags. The recall covers more than 42 million vehicles in the country. These vehicles, equipped with defective air bag inflators supplied by Takata, cut across 19 different vehicle manufacturers.
The settlement also stipulates that each of the four automakers will offer a customer support program that covers any needed repairs or adjustments to the replacement air bag inflators installed during the recall remedy.
The provisionary settlement provides that Toyota pay $278.5 million, BMW pay $131 million, Mazda pay $75.8 million, and Subaru pay $68.3 million, according to a New York Times report. Honda, Ford and Nissan also face similar economic-loss claims, but those haven’t been settled yet.
Takata air bag inflators, which can explode during air bag deployment, have been tied to at least 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries.