Takata has pleaded guilty to fraud charges in the US that claimed it hid evidence of potentially lethal issues with its car airbag detonator system.
The faulty system was fitted to around 100 million cars from 13 manufacturers, and has been linked to at least 16 deaths – 15 of which were in Hondas.
Takata’s customers have jointly issued the biggest recall in automotive history to rectify the problem. On top of $1 billion in legal fines, Takata is expected to have to pay more than $7 billion to pay for the fixes.
The latest legal case stemmed from information that Takata knew of its airbag issue for 15 years but continued to supply its customers with the part. Several car makers are also reportedly being sued for not taking action despite having discovered the issue before the case opened.
Takata is understood to be seeking a buyer in order to help it survive the heavy financial period it is facing. In an official statement the company denied that it was considering restructuring.
It instead claimed that stability was important to ensure there were no “disruptions in the supply chain, which may directly make Takata unable to fulfil its supply responsibilities and impact on a wide range of Takata stakeholders as a result”.
The US Department for Justice has ordered that Takata remain under observation for a three-year long probation period.