Takata has been fined $70 million as part of a consent order with U.S. safety regulators. The company has also agreed to a federal safety monitor and will receive $130 million more in fines for failure to follow the agreement.
The agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration imposes a total civil penalty of more than $200 million, with $130 million in payments becoming due if Takata violates the terms of its consent order or U.S. auto safety laws.
Takata has acknowledged that it was aware of a defect but did not issue a timely recall. Takata will now be forced to operate under stricter regulatory scrutiny for five years, as well as have an independent safety monitor who will be chosen by NHTSA to make sure Takata follows all requirements of the order.
At a press conference announcing the agreement, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said “For years Takata has built and sold defective inflators. It refused to acknowledge they were defective. It provided incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading information to NHTSA, to the companies using its inflators and to the public.”
Takata is also required to recall all inflators that have used ammonium nitrate unless the company can definitively prove to NHTSA that the chemical is safe for the life of the vehicle. Secretary Foxx was doubtful the company would be able to do that and stated “We believe this chemical is a factor in these ruptures, and the combination of Takata’s delays and denials, plus unexplained issues with ammonium nitrate inflators not already under recall leave us without confidence in these products going forward.”
To date, the defective airbag inflators are linked to eight deaths and over 100 injuries.
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