Takata Fined $70 Million In Air Bag Recall Case
DETROIT (AP) - U.S. auto safety regulators will fine Takata Corp. of Japan $70 million for lapses in the way it handled recalls of millions of air bag inflators that can explode with too much force, a person briefed on the matter said Tuesday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has the authority to add up to $130 million to the penalty if Takata doesn't obey terms of a five-year agreement reached over the issue, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the deal hasn't formally been announced.
The agency has scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference in Washington to unveil the penalty, which could be a record if it grows to $200 million.
Takata's air bag inflators can spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers in a crash and are responsible for eight deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide. So far, about 23.4 million driver and passenger inflators have been recalled on 19.2 million U.S. vehicles sold by 12 automakers. The agency continues to investigate whether the company's side air bag inflators also should be recalled.
Takata also still faces hundreds of lawsuits and a criminal investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The order calls for an independent monitor who would make sure Takata abides by the terms. The monitor could be extended to a sixth year. Specific terms of the order were not available ahead of the news conference, and spokesmen for NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation would not comment.
The total penalty of $200 million would be the largest ever imposed by NHTSA, surpassing the record $105 million penalty levied against Fiat Chrysler earlier this year for failing to report safety issues and follow through on 23 different recalls.