Ford agrees to $299 million settlement over faulty air bags

Funds would address costs from Takata failures

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WASHINGTON - Ford Motor Co. has agreed to a so-called economic loss settlement of $299.1 million over potentially faulty Takata air bag inflators, Reuters reported Monday.

If approved, the fund would help cover costs associated with 6 million U.S. Ford vehicles that have not had the defective air bags replaced. It's estimated that 30 million U.S. vehicles, of all makes, remain unrepaired in the recall.

Ford said it remains "focused on working with our customers to get their vehicles repaired."

The settlement covers several forms of economic damages associated with the inflators, including claims that the vehicles were erroneously reported to be safe, buyers who overpaid for cars with defective or substandard air bags and those who faced out-of-pocket costs to deal with recalls. Those costs could include lost wages and child care.

At least 23 deaths worldwide are linked to rupturing Takata air bag inflators, sparking the largest auto industry safety recall in history, involving nearly 100 million inflators among 19 major automakers. Of those deaths, 21 were reported in Honda vehicles and two in Ford vehicles.

Reuters reported six carmakers have already agreed to similar settlements worth $1.2 billion. They include Honda Motor Co. ,Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Subaru Corp. and BMW AG.

Last year, Takata pleaded guilty to a felony charge of wire fraud after a U.S. Justice Department investigation and agreed to a $1 billion settlement. The company filed for bankruptcy in June 2017. In April, auto components maker Key Safety Systems acquired Takata in a $1.6 billion deal.

Reuters reported a federal judge must still approve the Ford-Takata settlement.

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