Lawsuit: 5 automakers knew of Takata air bag dangers

The following is a timeline of key events in the Takata recall. The substance can quickly inflate the bag after a crash, but it's highly combustible.

The three Takata executives - Shinichi Tanaka, 59, Hideo Nakajima, 65, and Tsuneo Chikaraishi, 61, all Japanese citizens - were charged in an indictment filed on December 7, 2016, in the Eastern District of MI with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and five counts of wire fraud for their alleged conduct in the fraud scheme.

Auto makers have deeper pockets than Takata for plaintiffs' seeking legal awards and are paying significant sums to recall and fix vehicles.

Honda also said that the suggestion it chose to use Takata air bag inflators because they were less expensive than competitors' is "categorically false". Isuzu says the problem was caught quickly so it doesn't send recall notices.

One unidentified auto maker referred to an air bag that ruptured in 2009 as a "passenger protection device.transformed into a killing weapon", according to the court documents filed Monday in a Miami federal court as part of consolidated litigation against vehicle companies and Takata. Takata blames improper welding. Takata blames the handling of air bag propellant chemicals.

The company, financially sapped from sprawling global recall of airbags, said it must use the proceeds of a sale to another manufacturer to meet the terms of the plea agreement. Parham bleeds to death after shrapnel from the air bag slices open her carotid artery.

The allegations against the five automakers were made in a "status report" filing in Miami federal court, which is a clearinghouse for pretrial evidence in dozens of lawsuits against Takata and automakers. Emails and internal documents allegedly show Honda picking Takata inflaters "due to their relative 'inexpensiveness, '" according to court papers.

2014: Lawmakers push for a nationwide recall of Takata air bags during congressional hearings.

In the US, 19 automakers are recalling the inflators.

November 2015: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration imposes a record civil penalty of up to $200 million against Takata and requires it to recall all inflators with ammonium nitrate unless it can prove they are safe.

Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corporation has pleaded guilty to fraud and agreed to pay a $US1 billion ($1.3 billion) penalty for concealing a deadly defect in millions of its air bags.

The Justice Department reportedly is still seeking extradition for three former Takata executives who live in Japan.

  • Zachary Reyes