CARS.COM — Four automakers affected by the massive Takata airbag inflator recall have announced a settlement of Takata economic loss claims. BMW, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota have agreed to jointly provide a total of approximately $553 million to fund consumer outreach, customer reimbursements and rental car/loaner programs in an effort to improve recall remedy completion rates. According to the Detroit News, the settlement would compensate owners of 15.8 million vehicles for money they lost as a resut of the recall.
There are four sections of the proposal, which must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The outreach program is designed to ramp up efforts to connect with affected consumers by both traditional and nontraditional means. The rental car/loaner program will provide rental or loaner vehicles upon request to eligible customers for whom recall repair parts are not available within 30 days. The out-of-pocket-claims and residual distribution program allows eligible customers to submit requests for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses related to the inflator recall. Lastly, the fees and administration program covers extra fees like attorney costs.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the average repair completion rate after two-and-a-half years is only about 30 percent. 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.
To help raise that rate, NHTSA's launched expanded efforts to notify owners and prompt them to get repairs. The issue is critical because the huge recall covers more than a dozen automakers, and NHTSA expects that it will affect 64 to 69 million inflators in 42 million vehicles by 2020. Safety regulators have tied 11 deaths in the U.S. and about 180 injuries to ruptured Takata airbag inflators.
For more information, consumers can visit www.autoairbagsettlement.com or call 888-735-5596. Click here to use NHTSA's vehicle identification number tool and see if your vehicle is under a Takata — or any other — open recall.