$85 million settlement reached in multi-state lawsuit with Honda over Takata airbags

Posted at 3:07 PM, Aug 25, 2020

(WXYZ) — A multi-state settlement of more than $85 million has been reached with Honda over Takata airbags.

The settlement was reached over allegations that Honda concealed safety issues related to defects in the frontal airbag systems installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States.

The systems were first installed in Honda vehicles in 2001.

Michigan's share of the settlement is more than $2.14 million, Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday.

The safety issues posed a risk of rupture, which could cause metal fragments to fly into the passenger compartments of many Honda and Acura vehicles. Officials say the ruptures resulted in at least 14 deaths and more than 200 injuries in the United States.

“Consumers should be able to rely on the products that are designed to keep them safe and if companies that use those products fail to ensure the safety standards outlined by our laws, they can expect to answer for that negligence,” Nessel said in a press release. “This settlement requires Honda to be upfront with its customers about its products and establishes protocols it must follow to avoid repeating its mistakes.”

The states have alleged that Honda engineers suspected that the airbags’ propellant, ammonium nitrate, could burn aggressively and cause the inflator to burst. Despite these concerns, Honda delayed warning consumers or automobile safety officials, even as it began partial recalls of affected vehicles in 2008 and 2009. Honda continued to tell consumers that its vehicles, including its airbags, were safe.

Since 2008, Honda has recalled roughly 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles equipped with the suspect inflators.

The number of affected vehicles in Michigan is 183,038, officials say. Of these, nearly 79 percent – or 144,037 – have been repaired. There are 39,001 unrepaired. All safety recall repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers.