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Ford to pay US$299.1m to settle Takata consumer lawsuit

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Ford Motor Co has agreed to pay US$299.1 million to settle consumers' economic-loss claims connected to Takata Corp air-bag recalls.

[DETROIT] Ford Motor Co has agreed to pay US$299.1 million to settle consumers' economic-loss claims connected to Takata Corp air-bag recalls.

The settlement, filed in federal court in Miami Monday, reimburses consumers for out-of-pocket expenses and provides free loaners for owners or lessees of Ford vehicles who are waiting for their air bags to be fixed, according to the pact. The settlement will also increase outreach efforts to find consumers whose vehicles still have defective air bags.

Ford is the latest automaker to settle the economic loss claims, following a US$533 million agreement last year by Toyota Motor Corp, Subaru Corp, Mazda Motor Corp and BMW AG and a separate pact by Nissan Motor Co for US$98 million.

General Motors Co, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz continue to litigate these claims, plaintiffs' lawyers said in a statement Monday.

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The massive Takata air-bag recalls, the largest in history, led to the company filing for bankruptcy in 2017 and spurred lawsuits by consumers and accident victims. The air bags can malfunction and send shards of metal at drivers and passengers. Monday's settlement doesn't cover personal injury or wrongful death claims.

The consumers sued the automakers and Takata claiming they incurred economic losses, including costs of renting vehicles, while waiting for air bags to be replaced. The Ford settlement will cover about 6 million vehicles and requires court approval.

"These settlements are proving to be vital in protecting consumers from dangerous Takata airbags," Peter Prieto, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.

"We remain focused on working with our customers to get their vehicles repaired," Elizabeth Weigandt, a Ford spokeswoman, said in an email Monday. "Parts are available for all of the Ford vehicles in priority groups one through three, and we urge customers to contact their dealer immediately for free repairs."

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