Airbag Giant TAKATA Files Bankruptcy
Posted on behalf of Rizk Law on Aug 30, 2017 in Consumer Alerts
IMPORTANT SAFETY RECALL…
The defect in these vehicles could kill or injure you or other people in your vehicle.
Tens of millions of drivers around the country have received alarming safety recall notices clearly stating how defective airbag inflators under pressure could cause the airbags to rupture and kill them. From owners of reliable Asian brands to owners of luxury European machines, almost no one is safe from these ticking time bombs. The recalls started showing up in people’s mailboxes back in 2008, with Honda issuing the first round for four thousand 2001 Honda and Civic models. Since then, recalls have continued expanding, affecting over a quarter of all vehicles on U.S. roads.
Over 42 million vehicles across 34 manufacturers have been fitted with faulty airbags since as early as 2004, killing 12 and injuring over 200 in the U.S. alone. From Honda to Ferrari, drivers still have no way of knowing if the airbags in their vehicles might be waiting to burst. Currently, just 35% of affected vehicles have had their inflators replaced. The full scope of the recall could take until 2023 to complete.
Japanese auto supplier Takata Corp lies at the heart of history’s greatest auto recall. The company is hanging by a thread, having just recently filed for reorganization bankruptcy for debts of over $9 billion. It also plans to sell a vast portion of its operations that have not been affected by the scandal to Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems Inc. for $1.6 billion. With nearly worthless shares, the company faces its downfall in its third generation of operation.
Takata Timeline of Events
Four thousand Honda Accord and Civic models recalled from the year 2001.
In 2009, two women were killed by the airbags of their 2001 Honda Accords, one in Oklahoma and one in Virginia. The family of Gurjit Rathore of Virginia sued Takata and Honda for $75 million, claiming the companies were aware of safety issues since 2004. A $3 million settlement was reached in 2013.
Honda again expanded recalls.
In April, Honda recalled 896,000 Honda and Acura models from 2001-2003 to discover faulty airbag inflators were used as replacement parts. The recall was again expanded in December.
In 2013, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda recalled 3.4 million more vehicles around the world. BMW joined in May, and Takata posted a new loss of $212.5 million. In September, Devin Xu died in a 2002 Acura in a parking lot accident from facial trauma caused by a foreign object inside the airbag.
June 2014, Toyota expanded prior recall to 2.27 million vehicles globally. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation to determine whether drivers in high humidity regions are at greater risk. Takata denied there was any indication of inflator defects.
Honda, Nissan, and Mazda expanded their April 2013 recall, bringing the total recall to 10.5 million vehicles over 5 years. In July, Takata reported $440 million in recall-related losses. Floridians file the first class-action lawsuit against Takata in October claiming Takata, Toyota, and Honda kept silent about crucial airbag information, just two weeks before another Honda Accord fatality occurred in Orlando.
In November, the New York Times issued a troubling report that Takata had ordered technicians to destroy evidence of faulty airbag inflator test results. A criminal probe begins. Days later, Takata’s shares drop 17%. The U.S. Senate hearing into the airbag crisis takes place, just days after Honda expands their recall yet again, reaching a total of almost 10 million Honda vehicles.
The airbag of a 2002 Honda Accord killed one more victim in Houston, Texas in January. In February, Takata prepared to hasten the production of replacement inflators while incurring daily fines of $14,000 for failure to cooperate with probe. Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Ford, Fiat Chrysler, and Nissan all recalled millions more vehicles.
In June, Takata’s president publicly apologized for the scandal. Takata CEOs’ pay was slashed almost in half. The death toll rose to eight. By August, U.S. senators urged a recall on all cars equipped with Takata airbags.
Volkswagen, Audi, BMW recalled nearly 2 million more vehicles. In May, Hawaii became the first state to sue Takata. One more airbag related death reported.
In January, Takata pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay a billion-dollar penalty for the airbag defects. Three of their executives were indicted. More Takata airbag recalls were filed by 13 automakers. Takata also pleaded guilty to U.S. fraud charges. One more American driver was seriously hurt by the inflator rupture. Finally in June, Takata filed for bankruptcy in its two countries of operations. Most of their assets were sold.
If you are currently driving an older model Acura, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Daimler truck or van, Dodge, Ferrari, Fisker, Ford, GMC, Honda, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, McLaren, Mercedes-Benz, Mercury, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Scion, Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, or Volkswagen, you should look up your vehicle identification number (VIN) to see if a recall applies. The manufacturer should replace the airbags free of charge.
In the event that you were injured due to a defective product like a Takata airbag in Portland, trust Rizklaw to fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact one of our Portland injury attorneys today by calling 503.245.5677.