Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced an $84 million multi-state settlement with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Honda of America Mfg., Inc. on Wednesday (Aug. 26) that will bring nearly $2.3 million in funds to Arkansas consumers.
The settlement centers over allegations that Honda concealed safety issues related to defects in the frontal airbags installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States. The airbags were designed and manufactured by Takata Corporation, a long-time Honda supplier, and were first installed in Honda vehicles in the 2001 model year.
Under the settlement terms, Honda will pay to the states a total of $84,151,210.15, of which Arkansas will receive $2,291,025.59, and pay an additional $1,000,000 to the National Association of Attorneys General Training and Research Institute Endowment Fund.
“Honda knew these airbags were dangerous but used them in its vehicles anyway,” said AG Rutledge. “Such reckless disregard to protect consumers is unacceptable, and Honda is now paying the price for its misconduct.”
The settlement, reached between Honda and the attorneys general of 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, concludes a multi-state investigation into Honda’s alleged failure to inform regulators and consumers that the frontal airbags in many Honda and Acura vehicles posed a significant risk of rupture, which could cause metal fragments to fly into the passenger compartment. The ruptures have resulted in at least 14 deaths and over 200 injuries in the United States.
Under the consent judgment, Honda has agreed to the following terms:
- 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.
- Implementation of 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 vehicles.
- Prohibitions on misleading advertisements and point of sale representations regarding the safety of Honda’s vehicles, including the airbags.
- Making improvements in critical areas such as risk management, quality control, supplier oversight, training and certifications, and implementing mandatory whistleblower protections.
Consumers who own a Honda or Acura vehicle are strongly encouraged to visit Honda’s airbag recall website at www.hondaairbaginfo.com, or call its Customer Service toll-free number at (888) 234-2138, to see if their vehicle is subject to a recall.
Consumers may also check for open recalls by going to Safercar.gov.
All safety recall repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers. Consumers can also contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at 800-482-8982 or ArkansasAG.gov with any questions about this settlement.