Four major automakers are the first to agree to a settlement structure designed to increase the number of cars with recalled Takata airbag inflators that get fixed.
BMW, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota have agreed to a settlement to fund consumer outreach, rental car and out-of-pocket cost reimbursement programs for owners of affected cars, according to a joint statement. If approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the settlement will see the four manufacturers provide a combined $553 million.
Each OEM separately will support the aforementioned programs, which a court-appointed Settlement Special Administrator will oversee. The agreements don’t constitute admissions of liability on behalf of the automakers and cover vehicles that have been, or will be recalled for Takata phase stabilized ammonium nitrate airbag inflators.
The goal of the settlement is to increase recall remedy rates for cars fitted with the inflators. The NHTSA has a 100-percent remedy rate goal, but J.D. Power found in July that roughly one in six cars in the United States have been subjects of a safety-related recall, but not fixed.
Here are brief descriptions of the four programs covered under the settlement:
Outreach: This is expected to begin before the agreement has formally been approved. Each manufacturer will continue to contact owners who’ve been impacted by the recall, in accordance with the NHTSA’s Coordinated Remedy Program.
Rental/Car loaner: This will begin 30 days after the agreement has received preliminary approval. Manufacturers will provide a rental or loaner car to any qualified owner, and for whom parts won’t be available for at least 30 days.
Out-of-pocket claims: Owners will be able to request reimbursement or register to receive residual payments for “reasonable” out-of-pocket expenses related to the recall.
Fees and administration: The settlement would cover various costs, including class member notification, claims administration, attorneys’ fees and expenses.
Thumbnail photo via Honda