According to Reuters, only 12.5 million inflators have been fixed, out of 70 million.
On the heels of today's earlier blog post about products liability, we have a Reuters report on airbag manufacturer Takata, which has been ordered as part of a settlement with the Justice Department to pay $1 billion for defects in its airbags.
According to Reuters, the defective airbags have caused around 16 fatalities. $125M of the settlement amount is set aside for victims, both present and future. The market, of course, responded favorably to the settlement by rewarding Takata with a roughly 16 percent rise in share price.
How do Takata's airbags harm drivers and passengers?
At one time, perhaps your vehicle had a Takata airbag. Perhaps you're driving around with one now. The problem lies with the inflator, which can explode when the airbag inflates during a wreck (even a minor one), sending shrapnel into the driver and passenger.
The Japanese company's product is installed in a variety of makes and models of vehicles. All major automakers have them or have used them in the past, including:
· Land Rover
And, yes, Volkswagen.
Takata and VW must be cribbing each other's study notes
At least three Takata executives knew about the defective airbags since 2000, yet submitted false test reports to automakers in their effort to get those automakers to buy parts. Reuters quotes a federal prosecutor: "Automotive suppliers who sell products that are supposed to protect consumers from injury or death must put safety ahead of profits."
Clearly, Takata failed on that account.
Volkswagen performed a similar fraudulent feat when it came to emissions testing on its diesel vehicles, by submitting false test reports to government regulators, so that the vehicles passed inspection. This resulted in vehicles that were much worse in terms of emissions than VW had advertised them to be. The "emissions scandal" originally broke in Sept. 2015 and the case against VW continues today, with a former VW compliance executive recently arrested on fraud charges.