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U.S. fines Takata up to $200 million over faulty airbags

Staff writer |
Federal regulators levied a penalty of up to $200 million on Takata for failing to disclose the airbags defect to regulators in a timely manner.

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Takata is being fined $70 million, and could face an additional $130 million penalty if it fails to abide by its consent order with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which includes the appointment of an independent safety monitor.

As part of the agreement, Takata is required to phase out the manufacture and sale of inflaters that use phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant.

The penalty was announced at a news conference by Anthony Foxx, the transportation secretary, and Mark R. Rosekind, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Takata said it had isolated the problem. It said it had uncovered the mistakes that led to ruptures and it had pledged its products were safe,” Mr. Foxx said. “But we know that the ruptures have continued.”

“American drivers should not have to worry that a device designed to save their life might actually take it,” he said.

Unless Takata can prove its airbags are safe or can show it has determined why its inflators are prone to rupture, Mr. Foxx said, Takata will be required to recall all of its ammonium nitrate inflators now on the roads.

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