The settlement deal is worth $553 million (497 million euros) and covers claims of about 16 million vehicle owners who had sued carmakers Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Subaru for compensation. These settlements' focus on outreach is meant to increase completion rates, and the automakers strongly encourage all consumers in the US who own any vehicle - regardless of make, model or age - to log on to NHTSA's recall website at https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls, to ensure that any open recalls are addressed immediately.
Since then, carmakers have recalled 46 million Takata airbag inflators in 29 million American vehicles.
The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history involving 42 million vehicles.
BMW, Mazda, Subaru and Toyota have agreed to a settlement to fund consumer outreach, rental auto and out-of-pocket cost reimbursement programs for owners of affected cars, according to a joint statement.
The settlement calls for reimbursing current and former auto owners and lessees for costs they incurred for renting or buying replacement vehicles while waiting for those with defective air bags to be fixed.
Among the benefits provided for in the settlements is a new independent outreach program that seeks to dramatically increase recall remedy completion rates.
Of the overall $553m settlement announced on Thursday, $278.5m will be paid by Toyota, $131m by BMW, $76m by Mazda and the remaining $68m by Subaru.
Automakers have recalled 46 million Takata air bag inflators in 29 million USA vehicles as of Dec 2016.
Reimbursement of reasonable expenses, including transportation, towing and lost wages or childcare costs, accumulated as a result of the recall. Manufacturers will provide a rental or loaner vehicle to any qualified owner, and for whom parts won't be available for at least 30 days. Toyota had the highest, with 9.2 million affected cars and trucks; Subaru came next, with 2.6 million; BMW followed, with 2.3 milliom; and Mazda came in at a still-significant 1.7 million vehicles with the systems.
Earlier this year, Takata agreed to plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing and to pay $1 billion to resolve a federal investigation into its inflators.
Ford, Honda and Nissan did not sign onto the deal, meaning their legal dispute over economic loss claims connected to Takata air bags will continue.