Minnesota will receive $1.5 million out of an $85 million multistate settlement with American Honda Motor Co. over allegations it concealed safety concerns with air bag systems installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles.
The air bag inflaters were made by Takata Corp. and could rupture and cause metal fragments to fly into the passenger compartments.
The faulty parts were installed in cars starting in 2001 and led to one of the largest auto recalls in U.S. history, more than 40 million vehicles.
At least 25 deaths around the world, and 14 in the U.S., as well as hundreds of injuries were linked to Takata’s defective air bag inflaters.
The settlement this week was with the state attorneys general from most U.S. states, including Minnesota, as well as three U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. They alleged that Honda violated consumer protection laws by delaying warning consumers and automobile-safety officials about the faulty inflaters and by continuing to represent that their vehicles were safe.
“All Minnesotans should be able to trust that the cars they buy and drive are safe and reliable,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. “That’s basic to affording your life and living with dignity, safety, and respect. But Honda falsely touted the safety of their cars despite the massive safety hazard the air bags in its vehicles presented, then failed to make sure all affected vehicles were promptly recalled.”
In a statement, American Honda Motor Co. said it does not acknowledge any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. It also noted that Takata pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal criminal fraud charges.
“Honda continues to lead the industry in its efforts to replace defective Takata air bag inflaters,” the company said. “The company has thus far replaced more than 16 million defective Takata air bag inflaters in its vehicles and made more than 292 million individual attempts to contact owners and urge them to have their recalled Takata air bag inflaters replaced.”
As part of the settlement, Honda has agreed to implement stepped-up safety measures, including more rigorous scrutiny and oversight of suppliers of its air bag inflaters.
Consumers who own a Honda or Acura vehicle are encouraged to visit hondaairbaginfo.com or to call 1-888-234-2138 to see if their car is subject to a recall.