RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia won part of a more than $85 million multistate settlementwith Honda over allegations that Honda did not make consumers aware of airbag defects in certain Honda and Acura vehicles across the nation.
Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced the settlement Tuesday with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. for concealed safety issues related to defects in the frontal airbag systems installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles. The systems were designed and manufactured by Takata Corporation, a long-time Honda supplier, and were first installed in Honda vehicles in the 2001 model year.
Virginia will receive nearly $2 million as its share of the settlement.
The settlement was reached between 48 state and territorial attorneys general and Honda.
The settlement says that Honda’s alleged failure to inform regulators and consumers that the frontal airbags posed a significant risk of rupture, which could cause metal fragments to fly into the passenger compartments of many Honda and Acura vehicles.
The ruptures have resulted in at least 14 deaths and over 200 injuries in the United States.
“Virginians have a right to be protected from defective products and they deserve to know when they are driving a car with extremely dangerous airbags that could potentially hurt them,” said Attorney General Herring. “This settlement sends a strong message to businesses that failure to disclose dangerous product defects will not be tolerated. My team and I remain committed to holding auto manufacturers accountable if they put unsafe vehicles on Virginia’s roads.
Since 2008, Honda has recalled about 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles equipped with the suspect inflators.
Virginia along with other states, say Honda’s conduct was deceptive, and that it violated state consumer protection laws, including the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.
Honda has agreed to require that they will:
- Take steps to ensure that future airbag designs include “fail-safe” features to protect passengers in the event the inflator ruptures
- Adopt changes to its procurement process for new frontal airbags, to ensure that its suppliers have the appropriate industry certifications and satisfy key industry performance standards, as well as improve record-keeping and parts tracking
- 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 use in new Honda vehicle
- Abide by prohibitions on misleading advertisements and point of sale representations regarding the safety of its vehicles, including the airbags
- Make improvements in critical areas such as risk management, quality control, supplier oversight, training and certifications, and implementing mandatory whistleblower protection.
Honda agreed to pay the participating attorneys general a total of $85,151,210.15, of which Virginia’s share is $1,954,154.58.
Those who own a Honda or Acura vehicle are encouraged to visit Honda’s airbag recall websiteor call its 888 234-2138, to see if their vehicle is subject to a recall. All safety recall repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers.