Exploding Airbag Settlement Could Cost Over $1 Billion

Japan’s Takata could be close to settlement with the US Department of Justice over its massive exploding-airbag recall in what would amount as the largest exploding airbag settlement ever.

exploding airbag settlement picture

The company is expected to pay up to $1 billion to resolve allegations of criminal wrongdoing in handling its faulty airbags, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

But the final figure could be in the high hundreds of millions of dollars, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

One point that remains unresolved is whether there will be any guilty plea to criminal misconduct, either by the company or one of its subsidiaries as part of the exploding airbag settlement.

Such a plea would be an escalation of punishments against auto companies for defective products. In settlements with General Motors and Toyota Motor, for example, the companies agreed to pay large fines over product defects, but did not plead guilty.

Any broad agreement between Takata and the Justice Department would end one chapter in a long-running saga that has enraged drivers, disrupted the auto industry and brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy. While Takata still faces drawn-out legal battles, including a large product defect lawsuit, it would no longer be under the cloud of a government investigation.

Takata’s exploding airbags have been linked to at least 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States. Nineteen automakers are recalling 42 million vehicles to replace the airbags’ metal inflaters. The inflaters can over-pressurize and rupture, shooting metal shards into a car’s cabin.

The Justice Department has been examining whether the company made misleading statements and hid information about the defective airbags from clients. Takata has already acknowledged that it manipulated airbag test results, but has said that its conduct was unrelated to the airbag ruptures.

Former Takata engineers have said that cost considerations drove the company to switch to a less expensive yet problematic propellant in its inflaters in the early 2000s. The propellant, ammonium nitrate, can break down over time, making it unstable and prone to unexpected explosions when exposed to moisture.


What Our Clients Say

Great lawyer for personal injury claims - Andrew represented me in a personal injury claim following a major car wreck. I was rear-ended by an under-insured driver, so it was complex in getting compensated by that driver's insurance and then my own insurance. Andrew was thoughtful in dealing with me, and he helped me get the right medical care. He was bulldog determined and meticulous in dealing with the various insurance companies. He found the right balance of maximizing my recovery for damages and injuries but avoiding the pain of going to court. Who wants to sit through a trial!! Andrew recovered a highly satisfactory amount for my compensation, plus all my medical bills were paid, plus my car and property were fully replaced. I'm very happy to recommend him to my friends and to strangers (I hope you weren't in an accident!).

5/ 5

Contact Us

Please let us know what's on your mind. Have a question for us? Ask away.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Some of our Awards

Super Lawyers Top One Percent Lawyers of Distinction Million Dollar Advocates Forum National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Avvo 10/10 rating Top 100 Verdict


8701 Shoal Creek Boulevard, Suite 401, Austin, TX 78757
Get Directions


Office: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday

Appointments available: All days and hours.

Phones answered 24/7


5.0 / 5 over 38 reviews

See Reviews

Leave a Review



While most of our clients hail from Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Georgetown, and Pflugerville in Travis and Williamson Counties, we have also worked with clients in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Other clients have come from Lakeway, Jollyville, Anderson Mill, Kyle, and Leander. If your accident was in Texas, we can help you. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
Back To Top