Airbag-maker Takata files for bankruptcy in Japan, US
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Takata Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. and Japan on Sunday.
The Japanese auto parts maker has struggled to stay afloat amid lawsuits and recall costs over its deadly air bag inflators.
More than a dozen deaths are linked to the company’s faulty airbags. About 100 million have been recalled worldwide, with 70 million being pulled in the U.S., marking the largest automotive safety recall in history.
Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems in Detroit, Michigan, a Takata rival, reached an agreement with the auto parts maker to buy most of its assets and acquire its manufacturing operations for about $1.6 billion.
Takata agreed to pay the U.S. $1 billion in criminal penalties earlier this year, including a $25 million fine, $125 million to those who were injured by the airbags, and $850 million to automakers.
Kevin Dean, a lawyer in South Carolina who has dozens of cases pending against Takata, told ABC News the company’s bankruptcy filing was “a cowardly act by a cowardly company and their lawyers to avoid liability.”
“We currently have pending a number of cases across the United States involving wrongful deaths, people that are hit with these flying shrapnel,” he said. “One gentleman can not smile anymore. It damaged one of his facial nerves to the point where he can not speak anymore.”
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