Toyota, 3 other automakers settle suit over Takata air bags

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The plaintiffs filed papers to settle their claims against the companies Thursday, saying the deal covers almost 16 million vehicles. About 100 million inflators have been recalled worldwide by 19 major automakers, the largest automotive recall ever for a single safety issue. Under the terms of the settlements, BMW of North America LLC will pay $131 million, Subaru of America Inc. will pay $68,262,257 and Mazda North American Operations agreed to pay $75,805,050.

Thursday's settlement doesn't cover personal-injury cases that are also part of the sprawling litigation against Takata and auto makers that is consolidated in the Florida court.

Shares in Japan's Takata (7312.JP) soared more than 20% this morning after automakers including Toyota (7203.JP), Subaru (7270.JP) and Mazda Motor (7261.JP) agreed to pay more than USD550 million to resolve legal claims related to faulty air bags, which were linked to 11 deaths and many more injuries.

The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in US history involving 42 million vehicles. The rental car/loaner program will provide rental or loaner vehicles upon request to eligible customers for whom recall fix parts are not available within 30 days.

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Auto makers will also reimburse some expenses such as for transportation, storing or towing charges, child-care bills and lost wages during vehicle repairs.

The settlement includes a new independent outreach programme to dramatically increase recall remedy completion rates and regularly contact owners. NHTSA says only 32 percent of Toyota owners, 31 percent of Subaru owners, 18 percent of Mazda owners and 16 percent of BMW owners had completed the repairs.

Of the $553 million, automakers will use about $50 million to provide rental cars. The recall affects vehicles as far back as the 2000 model year and as recent as the 2016 model year.

Some 15.8 million vehicles now have the defective air bag inflators installed, and the settlement is meant to expedite their removal. The company has agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties for concealing defects with its air bags.

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