TAKATA BANKRUPTCY AND CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT LEGAL NOTICES
In late October 2017, TK Holdings, Inc. (“TKH”), the largest U.S. subsidiary of Takata Corporation, and certain of TKH’s affiliates (“Debtors”) sent required legal notices to the past and current owners of all vehicles containing certain types of Takata airbag inflators to notify them of their rights as the Debtors continue with bankruptcy proceedings. At this time, Honda anticipates that the bankruptcy will have no effect on Honda’s ability to repair vehicles included in the airbag inflator recalls.
Separately, a court has preliminarily approved the settlement of a class action lawsuit over certain 2001-2017 Honda and Acura vehicles equipped with Takata frontal airbag inflators. By November 20, 2017, the settlement administrator is expected to begin sending notices to registered owners of these vehicles, past and present, to inform them of the terms of the proposed settlement.
While we have provided a limited FAQ below to address some common questions, for more detailed information about the proposed settlement, please visit: https://autoairbagsettlement.com or call 1-888-735-5596. For more information about the Takata bankruptcy, please visit www.TKRestructuring.com/PPIC.
Important note: Any required free airbag inflator recall repairs must be completed before a vehicle owner can qualify for certain benefits provided under the proposed settlement. You may determine if your vehicle requires a recall repair by visiting www.recalls.honda.com or www.recalls.acura.com or by calling 1-888-234-2138.
- My vehicle is not affected by a Takata airbag recall. Why am I included in this settlement?
The settlement encompasses all vehicles equipped with Takata frontal airbag inflators, including those that have not been recalled. If your vehicle is recalled in the future as determined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you will be notified and could qualify for certain additional benefits under the terms of this settlement upon completion of the required recall repair.
For more information about the proposed settlement, please visit: https://autoairbagsettlement.com or call 1-888-735-5596.
- I heard that I may be eligible for money from the Takata airbag settlement. How do I file a claim?
To qualify for potential compensation under the settlement, any required Takata airbag inflator recall repairs must be completed on the affected vehicle, if you still have the car. Recall repairs are free and registered vehicle owners are eligible for a free loaner or rental vehicle during the repair or if there is any repair delay. You may determine if your vehicle requires a recall repair by visiting www.recalls.honda.com or www.recalls.acura.com or by calling 1-888-234-2138.
For more information about the proposed settlement and the claims process, please visit: https://autoairbagsettlement.com or call 1-888-735-5596.
- My vehicle is not affected by a Takata airbag recall. Why did I get a notice of the Takata bankruptcy proceeding?
The Takata companies that filed for bankruptcy were required to notify past and current owners of all vehicles containing certain types of Takata airbag inflators, some of which may not currently be subject to recall. For more information, please visit www.TKRestructuring.com/PPIC.
ALPHA INFLATOR QUESTIONS
- My vehicle is one of those 2001 to 2003 vehicles. Is there a stop drive order on my vehicle?
We advise owners to only drive these vehicles—which contain so-called “Alpha inflators”—to the dealer for repair. If the customer is uncomfortable or unable to drive it to the dealer we can accommodate individual needs to transport a vehicle with an “Alpha inflator” to the dealer for repair.
- What is an “Alpha” inflator?
The “Alpha” driver-front airbag inflators were the subject of the first Takata airbag inflator recalls starting in 2008. In most cases, the previous owners of these affected vehicles did not replace the inflators under those recalls and, thus, the vehicles remain unrepaired. Now, because of the time that has passed, they are even more likely to rupture if the driver’s airbag deploys in a crash. In fact, in testing done by Takata, Alpha inflators removed from vehicles in consistently hot and humid areas showed a rupture rate as high as 50 percent.
These models originally contained “Alpha” inflators:
- 2001-2002 Honda Accord
- 2001-2002 Honda Civic
- 2002 Honda CR-V
- 2002 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 Honda Pilot
- 2002-2003 Acura 3.2 TL
- 2003 Acura 3.2 CL
If you own one of these vehicles, please check the vehicle identification number (VIN) to determine if it requires repair at www.recalls.honda.com and www.recalls.acura.com or at www.safercar.gov and contact an authorized dealer as soon as possible to schedule the free repair.
- Why is only the recall of certain older model vehicles with a Takata inflator called “urgent”? Isn’t my safety urgent, too?
All safety recalls should be addressed, and owners of recalled vehicles should arrange repairs whenever they receive a recall notice. For some of the oldest vehicles affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls, the situation is even more serious.
In June 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) informed Honda that analysis by Takata of certain front driver airbag inflators – so-called “Alpha” inflators – removed from recalled 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles in the state of Florida and returned to Takata revealed a very high rupture rate in laboratory testing.
Based on this analysis, Honda concurs with the Secretary of Transportation’s recommendation that this particular sub-group of “Alpha” vehicles should only be driven to a dealer in order to have their Takata airbag inflators replaced as rapidly as possible. If a vehicle owner is unable or uncomfortable driving their vehicle to a dealer for the recall repair, Honda will tow the vehicle to the nearest authorized dealer for free. There is an abundant supply of replacement inflators and the repair is free of charge and can be completed quickly.
- I heard that Honda is sending people to knock on owners’ doors. Why are they in my neighborhood?
We have begun sending teams of Honda representatives into areas with a significant number of unrepaired “Alpha” inflators to physically knock on owners’ doors to assist them with scheduling recall repairs. If you see one of these representatives in your neighborhood, please do what you can to help them reach any owners of potentially affected vehicles in your area. You may help save a life.
RECALL PROCESS QUESTIONS
- How can I find out if my vehicle is subject to a recall for the airbag inflator?
We urge customers to immediately check their VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) for open recalls at www.recalls.honda.com and www.recalls.acura.com or at www.safercar.gov and contact an authorized dealer as soon as possible to schedule the free repair. Concerned customers can also contact Automobile Customer Service at 888-234-2138.
- Where do I find my VIN? (Vehicle Identification Number)
Your VIN is a 17-digit identification code unique to your vehicle and can be found in the top left corner of the dashboard through the windshield, on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb or on your vehicle’s registration paperwork.
- How much will this cost me?
The replacement of recalled Takata airbag inflators is free of charge.
- How long will it take for the dealer to complete the repair?
The actual repair should take about an hour once your vehicle is in the hands of a dealer technician. Since dealer service schedules can vary by the day, we recommend that you confirm a repair time estimate with your local dealer when leaving your vehicle for repair.
- Do I need to make an appointment with a dealer?
We recommend that you schedule an appointment to ensure that parts are available and ready for your repair and to minimize any potential waiting time after you drop off your vehicle.
- I already had my passenger inflator replaced once. Why do I need to do it again?
In early 2016, NHTSA, the federal agency which regulates motor vehicle safety and the airbag inflator supplier, Takata, determined that all Takata airbag inflators using ammonium nitrate as the propellant that do not contain a moisture-absorbing desiccant must be replaced. Older passenger inflators in Honda and Acura vehicles, especially those in hot and humid climates, are most at risk and need to be replaced as soon as possible.
The replacement inflators Honda had been using for the driver’s front airbag contained a moisture-absorbing desiccant. Some of the replacement inflators used in the past to repair the passenger’s front airbag did not contain a desiccant.
We apologize for the inconvenience of a second repair, but it is important to respond to the recall as soon as you receive a letter advising you that your car is now affected and replace your passenger front airbag inflator again, as soon as possible. The replacement inflators we are now using are made by an alternative supplier and do not use the propellant used by Takata.
- If I don’t want to drive my car, will Honda loan me a car until the repair can be made?
Replacement inflators are now available for all Honda and Acura models included in the Takata airbag inflator recalls. Thus, there should be no significant repair delay.
Per long standing company policy, Honda and Acura dealers are authorized to provide a loaner or rental vehicle to registered owners of vehicles affected by a Takata airbag inflator recall during the recall repair or longer if there is any repair delay.
- Do I need to bring a recall notice to my dealer to have the airbag inflator repaired?
No. The dealer will be able to look up your vehicle by using the VIN from your vehicle.
- Can I have my neighborhood mechanic replace the airbag inflator?
No, only an authorized Honda or Acura dealer can perform the repair for this recall. Repair at an authorized dealer is free, and the dealer is experienced in making the appropriate repair and has access to approved replacement parts.
- Should I wait until I receive a recall repair notice or can I fix the issue immediately?
We encourage all owners to contact their local dealer immediately to schedule repairs. The dealer can ensure that the parts are ordered and that you are contacted when the parts arrive at the dealer.
Replacement inflators are now available for all Honda and Acura models included in the Takata airbag inflator recalls. Thus, there should be no significant repair delay.
GENERAL AND TECHNICAL QUESTIONS
- Is it true that Takata pled guilty to fraud related to their airbag inflators?
Yes. Honda is deeply saddened by the harm Takata’s wrongdoing has caused to our customers. Honda remains focused on our urgent efforts to prevent additional injuries from the rupture of Takata airbag inflators. We urge owners of affected vehicles to complete the required recall repairs immediately. These repairs are free at all authorized Honda and Acura dealerships throughout the country.
- What is an inflator? I thought that these recalls were for the airbags?
The inflator is a device inside the airbag that contains a propellant that inflates the airbag in the event of a collision.
- What is ammonium nitrate?
Ammonium nitrate is a chemical Takata used in its propellant formula to inflate the airbag during a collision.
- Why does heat and humidity affect my airbag?
A scientific analysis announced by NHTSA on May 4, 2016 determined that the ammonium nitrate propellant used in recalled Takata airbag inflators that did not contain a moisture absorbing desiccant can degrade over time, particularly when exposed to extended periods (years) of high heat and absolute humidity, as is typical in many southern U.S. states. This propellant degradation may cause the airbag inflator to rupture if the airbag deploys in a crash.
- I think the area where I live is hot and humid, too. Why isn’t my vehicle also included in the most urgent repair area?
Honda will conduct repairs on any vehicle currently subject to recall now on a national basis, regardless of the region.
However, based on testing and analysis by Takata of its airbag inflators recovered from areas with consistently high absolute humidity and temperatures, the NHTSA determined that vehicles located in, or that had ever been registered in such climates have an elevated risk for airbag inflator rupture. For owners of older vehicles in these areas, the recall repair is even more urgent.
These states and territories are: California, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Saipan.
- Is there any way to know when my vehicle’s airbag inflator is close to a rupture before it occurs?
No. There is no way to accurately gauge the risk of rupture for any individual vehicle. If your airbag inflator is subject to a recall, it is important to pursue repair as soon as possible.
- How many Honda or Acura vehicles are affected by the Takata airbag inflator recalls?
Approximately 11.4 million Honda and Acura automobiles have been or now are subject to recall for replacement of a Takata driver and/or passenger front airbag inflator in the United States, with approximately 3,580 Honda motorcycles subject to recall for the replacement of the Takata airbag inflator module.
- It seems like Honda is impacted by the Takata inflator recall problem more than other automakers. Why?
Honda was one of the first automakers to adopt a new dual stage airbag design in 2001 and the supplier of these airbags and inflators was Takata. The Takata PSDI driver front inflator contained ammonium nitrate propellant.
A number of other automakers also have used Takata inflators using ammonium nitrate propellant in their vehicles which is why this recall is a major industry issue, but Honda was the first and therefore has more older-model vehicles affected by the recalls.
- Is there anything I can do before the inflator is replaced to make it less likely to rupture?
No. All safety recalls are serious, and any owner of a vehicle affected by any recall should make arrangements to have it repaired as soon as possible.
- What exactly is being repaired—will they replace the entire airbag?
In most cases, the dealer will replace the inflator, a component inside your airbag unit.
- Is Honda still using Takata inflators to repair vehicles under this recall?
No. For recall repairs currently being conducted in the U.S. for Honda and Acura vehicles, 100% of the replacement inflators are now being supplied by alternative inflator manufacturers, not Takata. Put another way, no Takata replacement inflators are being used to repair Honda or Acura vehicles as part of the inflator recalls now.
- Do the inflators being supplied by your alternate suppliers use the same ammonium nitrate propellant as Takata?
No. The replacement inflators do not contain ammonium nitrate propellant.
- Honda has had multiple expansions of Takata airbag recalls in past years. Why can’t the company get it right the first time?
Honda is committed to the safety of our customers.
Each of the recall expansions we have announced came in reaction to new information that was unknown or not available at the time each original action was initiated. In addition, the most recent expansion, in January 2017, was scheduled by NHTSA as part of a multi-stage recall (May 2016-December 2019) of non-desiccated Takata inflators installed in multiple automakers vehicles. There will be additional recall expansions in the future based on NHTSA’s multi-stage approach.
We apologize for the inconvenience, but it is important to respond to the recall notice as soon as possible.
- Do airbags or the inflators have limits to their operational life?
There is no set operational life of an airbag. While still subject to limited warranties, airbags, and all restraint system components, are intended to perform as designed for the useful life of the vehicle.
- What is Honda doing to inform customers about this recall?
Beyond the required step of a mailed notification to registered owners of the affected vehicles, Honda has supplemented this with a number of efforts to reach those customers affected by the Takata inflator recalls. In total, Honda has made over 141 million individual owner outreach attempts related to Takata airbag inflator recalls thus far, and the effort continues.
You can learn more by reviewing the fact sheet we have posted at http://hondaairbaginfo.com/takata-airbag-inflator-recall-fact-sheet/.
Our efforts have included the following:
- 43.4 million mailed first class notifications to registered owners of affected vehicles (in both English and Spanish)
- 25.7 million post cards
- 23.2 million live and automated phone calls
- 9.5 million E-mails
- 1 million text messages (including owners of Alpha VINs where we’ve been able to locate a cellular phone number)
- Newspaper and radio ads in English and Spanish
- Targeted social media advertising
- Targeted neighborhood door-to-door canvassing (for Alpha inflators)