MADISON – Wisconsin is among 48 states that reached an $85 million settlement on Tuesday with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. (collectively “Honda”).
The settlement lawsuit centered over Honda that concealed safety issues related to defects in the frontal airbag systems installed in specific Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States.
The settlement, announced by Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, includes paying participating attorneys general totaling $85.1 million, of which Wisconsin’s share is $1.59 million.
“Hiding information about how its airbags put people’s lives and safety at risk is absolutely unacceptable,” Kaul said in a news release. “This agreement will help protect consumers by requiring Honda to improve its safety processes and to advertise responsibly.”
The settlement involved the attorneys general of 48 states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The Honda settlement concludes a multistate investigation into Honda’s alleged failure to inform regulators and consumers that the frontal airbags posed a significant risk of rupture, causing metal fragments to fly into the passenger compartments of many Honda and Acura vehicles. The ruptures have resulted in at least 14 deaths and more than 200 injuries in the United States.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Honda has agreed:
- To take steps to ensure that future airbag designs include “fail-safe” features to protect passengers in the event the inflator ruptures.
- To adopt changes to its procurement process for new frontal airbags, ensure that its suppliers have the appropriate industry certifications and satisfy industry performance standards, and improve record-keeping and parts tracking.
- To implement recurrence prevention procedures designed to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again, such as requiring that Honda approve all new frontal airbag designs before the company will consider them for new Honda vehicles.
- To abide by prohibitions on misleading advertisements and point of sale representations regarding Honda’s vehicles’ safety, including the airbags.
- To improve critical areas such as risk management, quality control, supplier oversight, training and certifications, and implementing mandatory whistleblower protections.
Consumers who own a Honda or Acura vehicle are strongly encouraged to visit Honda’s airbag recall website at https://hondaairbaginfo.com or call (888) 234-2138, to see if their vehicle is subject to a recall. Consumers may also check for open recalls by going to www.Safercar.gov. All safety recall repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers.
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