Last year, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) urged owners to stop driving the “unsafe” cars until they were fixed. NHTSA said 2001-2003 model Honda and Acura vehicles have as high as a 50 percent chance of a dangerous air bag inflator rupture in a crash.
Of the deaths linked to Takata’s inflators, 16 took place in Honda vehicles since May 2009, including five in Malaysia using a different type Takata inflator, while one death occurred in a Ford Motor Co vehicle in South Carolina in December 2015.
Separately, a federal judge in Detroit on Monday said he planned to name law professor Eric D. Green to oversee $975 million in compensation funds for Takata air bag victims and automakers.
Green, who teaches at Harvard, has served as a mediator in many major cases, including the U.S. Microsoft antitrust case, and currently serves as a Justice Department monitor overseeing the implementation of billions of dollars in consumer relief linked to settlements with banks stemming from the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
Scott Caudill, chief operating officer of TK Holdings, Takata’s U.S. unit, said in a court affidavit last month in its bankruptcy filing that the company “faces insurmountable claims” relating to the recalls and owes billions of dollars to automakers.
He disclosed that Takata has recalled, or expects to recall, by 2019 about 125 million vehicles worldwide, including more than 60 million in the United States.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown)