The legal battle over the deadly flaws in Takata airbags moved a step closer to resolution on Thursday when four automakers agreed to compensate owners of recalled cars.
Under a proposed settlement in a class-action case, Toyota, BMW, Subaru and Mazda are set to pay a total of $553 million to current and former owners and lessees of 15.8 million vehicles. The money is meant to reimburse them for car rentals or other expenses — like lost wages, towing charges or child care — incurred while waiting for their cars to be repaired.
The agreement, filed in United States District Court in Miami, is subject to court approval.
But the process of fixing the tens of millions of cars equipped with the rupture-prone airbags will drag on for years. Replacement parts remain in short supply, and many consumers have been unresponsive to recall notices.
Some of the money in the proposed settlement will be used to encourage consumers whose cars are under recall to bring them to dealers for repair. So far the airbags have been replaced in fewer than a third of the affected Toyota and Subaru vehicles and fewer than a fifth of those from BMW and Mazda.