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Ford to pay $299M to drivers with faulty air bags

Keith Laing
The Detroit News

Washington — Ford Motor Co. has agreed to pay $299 million to drivers of cars with faulty Takata air bags, according to court documents. 

The payouts, included in a settlement filed in federal court in Miami on Monday, intendes to reimburse drivers for expenses incurred while they are waiting for theirs cars to be repaired and provide loaners for drivers whose cars are inoperable until the fix is completed. Takata air bag inflators under recall are prone to explode with sometimes deadly force, especially in humid climates.

Ford joins other automakers including Toyota Motor Corp., Subaru Corp., Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. in reaching settlements with owners of its vehicles that have been impacted by the Takata recall.

Toyota agreed in 2017 to pay $278.5 million; while BMW agreed to pay $131 million. Mazda Motor paid $76 million and Subaru paid $68 million. Nissan Motor Co. agreed to pay $98 million in a separate agreement that was also reached in 2017. 

Peter Prieto, a court-appointed attorney for plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit filed over the air bags, said the agreement with Ford will help compensate drivers who were exposed to the possibility of exploding air bags.

Ford has 3.8 million recalled air bags, of which it has fixed 938,000, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

The company urged customers to contact their dealersimmediately for free repairs.

"Safety is our priority," Ford said in a statement. "We remain focused on working with our customers to get their vehicles repaired."

Recalls of Takata air bags have spread to nearly 13 percent of vehicles in the United States. The devices have been linked to at least 13 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the United States. Worldwide, 22 have died.

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Twitter: @Keith_Laing