PHOENIX — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has announced a $5-million settlement with Honda over defective Takata airbags.
Nationally, more than 200 people have been hurt and at least 14 killed in crashes involving the faulty airbags. At least two people in Arizona died as a result of the airbags in crashes. Recently, investigators learned that in August a Honda driver was killed when one of the airbags exploded during a Mesa crash.
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The announcement Tuesday morning says the settlement was reached with American Honda Motor Company, Inc., and Honda of America Mfg., Inc., "over allegations of concealed safety issues related to defective Takata airbag systems in certain Honda and Acura vehicles."
The AG alleges that Honda should have warned customers who purchased vehicles with airbag issues by Sept. 2012, however, customers were not notified until Nov. 2015.
"Thousands" of Arizona vehicles are still equipped with the recalled airbags, the AG's office says.
"One death is way too many," Brnovich told ABC15. "It's tragedy and we want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else."
Now, Arizona consumers may be eligible to receive:
- More than $2 million in gift card incentives to repair their cars for free, getting rid of the problematic airbags. More than 40,000 gift cards will be mailed to Arizonans that will be activated when taken to a Honda dealership for a free airbag replacement.
- $1.65 million in restitution for those who purchased a Honda vehicle with recalled Takata airbags between Sept. 1, 2012, and Nov. 3, 2015. More than 15,000 Arizonans will get a $100 check.
The settlement also includes a payout for outreach to inform consumers of the recall and replacement options, and additional payment to the State of Arizona.
"Honda also agreed to injunctive relief requiring it to refrain from deceptive or misleading advertising and set up a system for employees to report safety concerns to management," a press release states.
The AG's office says Honda previously reached a settlement with a multi-state group over the airbag issue. However, Arizona did not participate "because the multistate settlement provided only payments to the states, and did not provide any restitution for injured consumers or incentives to get dangerous airbags fixed."
If you own a Honda or Acura vehicle and aren't sure if you are included in the recall, you can visit the recall website or call its Customer Service toll-free number at 888-234-2138. All safety recall repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers.
For questions regarding restitution or the gift card incentive program, consumers should contact the Claims Administrator at 1-855-917-3583.
Honda provided a fact sheetwith more information about repairs, crash statistics and more, and released a statement regarding the settlement Wednesday:
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has reached a civil settlement to resolve an investigation over Honda’s use of defective Takata airbag inflators opened by the Attorney General of the State of Arizona. Under the terms of the settlement, Honda does not acknowledge any wrongdoing.
The now-bankrupt airbag inflator supplier, Takata, pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal criminal fraud charges for deceiving Honda and other automakers about the safety of its airbags.
Honda continues to lead the industry in its efforts to replace defective Takata airbag inflators. The company has thus far replaced more than 16 million defective Takata airbag inflators in its vehicles and made more than 294 million individual attempts to contact owners and urge them to have their recalled Takata airbag inflators replaced.
As part of this civil settlement, Honda will implement a six-month repair incentive program, provide payments to owners of the oldest Honda/Acura vehicles under recall with the highest risk Takata airbag inflators along with certain original purchasers of Honda and Acura vehicles in Arizona and provide funding for public service announcements in Arizona to highlight the urgency and risk caused by defective Takata airbag inflators.