Car Industry

Ford agrees to $299M settlement as part of Takata airbag inflator scandal

Several other automakers have already agreed to similar economic-loss settlements.

If you had to shell out cash to cover a babysitter while you sat at the dealership awaiting a repair, this settlement is for you.

Ford

Even though experts figured out the hows and whys of the Takata airbag scandal months ago, the fallout continues to settle.

Ford agreed this week to a $299.1 million economic loss settlement related to the Takata scandal, Reuters reports, citing documents filed in federal court on Monday. Ford is the seventh automaker to agree to such a settlement -- BMW, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota have already agreed to a combined $1.2 billion in settlements. Ford's settlement still requires approval from a federal judge before it can proceed.

The settlement isn't a traditional one you might expect, one that pays out to victims of faulty Takata airbag inflators. Instead, an economic-loss settlement covers economic damages. Example reasons for claims include buyers alleging they overpaid for cars with faulty equipment or that they were forced to pay out-of-pocket costs related to the recalls, which can cover lost wages and child care costs. 

Over 100 million airbag inflators comprise the largest safety recall in the history of the automotive industry. Takata, the company that supplied the parts responsible for ensuring the airbag properly inflates, decided to use a cheaper material that was subject to failing after exposure to humidity. Some airbags, instead of inflating like usual in a crash, instead exploded in a cloud of shrapnel. 21 deaths and more than 290 injuries have been linked to the faulty parts, which are found in vehicles from 19 different automakers.

Takata subsequently filed for bankruptcy and sold most of its assets to Key Safety Systems, another supplier. It also pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud charges and accepted a $1 billion settlement. Finding this many replacement airbag inflators has been difficult. Whether due to parts shortages or lazy owners, some 30 million faulty inflators have not yet been repaired in the US -- a depressing number, considering that comprises about two-thirds of all the faulty Takata inflators in the country.