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NowServingNumber52

Takata Pleads Guilty To Fraud In Air Bag Scandal

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DETROIT (AP) — Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp. pleaded guilty to fraud Monday and agreed to pay $1 billion in penalties for concealing an air bag defect blamed for at least 16 deaths, most of them in the U.S.

The scandal, meanwhile, seemed to grow wider when plaintiffs’ attorneys charged that five major automakers knew the devices were dangerous but continued to use them for years to save money.

In pleading guilty, Takata admitted hiding evidence that millions of its air bag inflators can explode with too much force, hurling lethal shrapnel into drivers and passengers.

The inflators are blamed for 11 deaths in the U.S. alone and more than 180 injuries worldwide. The problem touched off the biggest recall in U.S. automotive history, involving 42 million vehicles and up to 69 million inflators.

The company’s chief financial officer, Yoichiro Nomura, entered the guilty plea on Takata’s behalf in federal court in Detroit. He also agreed that Takata will be sold or merge with another company.

The penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine.

Separately, three former executives are charged with falsifying test reports. They remain in Japan.

Takata’s inflators use ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion that inflates air bags in a crash. But when exposed to prolonged high temperatures and humidity, the chemical can deteriorate and burn too fast. That can blow apart a metal canister.

In the U.S., 19 automakers are recalling the inflators. Worldwide, the total number of inflators being recalled is over 100 million.

Takata’s penalty is small compared with the one imposed on Volkswagen, which must buy back cars and pay up to $21 billion in penalties and compensation to owners over its emissions-cheating scandal.

rest...

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2017/02/27/takata-pleads-guilty-air-bag-case/

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