At least 17 deaths have been linked to the faulty Takata airbags. For several years, the airbag recall has been connected to vehicles from Ford to Toyota and Honda.
Three high-level executives of Tokyo-based Takata Corp. have agreed to plead guilty for their participation in a conspiracy to fix prices of seatbelts installed in cars sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced today. The executives have also agreed to serve time in a U.S. prison.
It is possible that the U.S. Justice Department will announce a settlement as soon as today over the deadly air bags. In a recall letter to Ford customers, it states that: "Continued exposure to high levels of absolute humidity may cause the driver airbag inflator housing to rupture… Rupture could result in metal fragments striking and potentially injuring vehicle occupants."
The airbag company has been blamed for deaths resulting from the faulty airbag and could be fined up to as much as $1 billion, including criminal charges.
According to the one-count felony charges filed separately against each of the executives today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, Yasuhiko Ueno, Saborou Imamiya and Yoshinobu Fujino participated in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of seatbelts sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries Inc. – more commonly known by its brand name, Subaru – and Mazda Motor Corp. in the United States and elsewhere. The three executives have agreed to serve prison sentences ranging from 14 to 19 months, and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation.