Honda Motor, Japan’s third largest automaker and the biggest client of Takata Corp., the auto supplier entrenched in a global auto safety crisis over defective airbags, is going to pay a $70 million penalty.
The automaker and the US government agreed on the payment as punitive action due to the carmaker’s failure to report in the timeframe agreed by law numerous injuries, deaths and other consumer claims in regards to the company’s models, said transportation officials yesterday. Following the result of an investigation conducted by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration has been asked to pay two $35 million fines, in what is now the biggest penalty ever paid by an automaker that sells cars in the United States. The penalty is divided in two lump payments because $35 million is the currently allowed maximum fine under US law – a penalty also bestowed upon general Motors last year for its failure to report a deadly defective ignition switch recall for more than a decade.
The Japanese automaker had been probed because of alleged violations of NHTSA’s Early Warning Reporting regulations – requiring auto companies to bring forth very fast any information they have on potential defects, deaths and injuries or damage and warranty claims coming from the brand’s customers. Back in November, Honda – after suspicions arose in relation to the Takata airbag debacle – acknowledged after an independent internal inquiry that it skipped reporting 1,729 cases involving deaths or injuries between July 2003 and June 2014. Eight of them were in direct relation to the Takata airbags, which have inflators that can explode with too much force and spray metal debris inside the cabin at high velocity.