Just how far will the airbag debacle reverberate? Lawsuits are now alleging that certain car makers knew about the exploding Takata airbags and had installed them anyway. That’s what Agence France-Press says, noting that plaintiff lawyers are now alleging that BMW, Ford, Honda, Nissan and Toyota had knowingly equipped the faulty airbags.
It’s a serious charge — one that has led to 16 deaths in the United States. Takata just admitted to defrauding customers — including car makers — and has agreed to pay $1 billion to both the US Justice Department and to passengers who were hurt by the exploding airbags.
But plaintiff lawyers are alleging that some automakers knew what they were buying:
“Automotive defendants had independent knowledge … that Takata’s airbags were not safe well before installing them in millions of vehicles,” said a filing from plaintiffs attorneys at Podhurst Orseck, a law firm, according to an Industry Week report.
They were “aware that rupture after rupture, both during testing and in the field, confirmed how dangerous and defective Takata’s airbags were,” the story continued. “For the automotive defendants to call themselves victims insults the real victims here — hundreds of people who have seriously injured or killed.”
The car companies said they were unable to comment on pending litigation.
A defective device inside the airbags had caused them to inflate with “excessive force,” says Industry Week. That sent shrapnel inside a canister installed in the actual airbags flying toward the drivers and passengers.