Photo (cc) by 401(k) 2012
If you own one of the nearly 16 million vehicles with potentially faulty Takata air bags, you could be owed up to $500 as part of a consumer settlement with four automakers.
Toyota, BMW, Subaru and Mazda have agreed to pay a total of $553 million to settle a class-action lawsuit seeking compensation for drivers whose vehicles were outfitted with the defective air bags, reports USA Today.
If a federal judge approves the deal, Toyota will fork over $278.5 million, BMW owes $131 million, Mazda $75.8 million and Subaru $68.3 million.
An estimated 15.8 million vehicles are covered by the settlement, which calls for “reimbursing current and former car owners and lessees for costs they incurred for renting or buying replacement vehicles while waiting for those with defective airbags to be fixed,” says The New York Times.
Japanese auto parts company Takata Corp.’s faulty air bags — which can potentially explode upon impact — are linked to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the U.S., according to the Times.
CNN Money says potential problems with the air bags were identified more than eight years ago. Fast-forward to today, and the air bags have been replaced in fewer than one-fifth of impacted cars from BMW and Mazda and less than one-third of impacted Subaru and Toyota cars, the Times reports.
Some of the settlement money will be used to encourage people whose cars are equipped with the faulty air bags to get their vehicle into a dealership for necessary repairs. Peter Prieto, a partner at the law firm Podhurst Orseck, who served as the lead counsel in the class-action case, says in a statement:
“This agreement achieves our goals of educating consumers about the urgent need to have their recall remedies completed while providing them compensation for their economic losses.”
Vehicle owners will be notified once the settlement is approved by a federal judge, says USA Today. Although other automakers like Ford, GM, Honda and Nissan also are affected by the Takata air bag recall, they did not agree to this settlement
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