Miami, Florida - Takata, whose potentially defective airbags have led to the recall of millions of vehicles, has been sued by consumers who claimed Takata and several car manufacturers defrauded them by concealing crucial information.
The lawsuit, filed with a United States District Court in Florida, is believed to be the first in the United States to seek class-action status on behalf of consumers nationwide.
If that status is granted, it could subject Takata to a larger payout in a trial or settlement than if vehicle owners were forced to sue individually.
The federal lawsuit is at least the third filed against Takata in the last week over alleged airbag defects. The other lawsuits were brought on behalf of individual owners.
The latest lawsuit also names car manufacturers as defendants, including Toyota and Honda.
Takata has said it set aside ¥75 billion(about $690 million or R7.6 billion) for recalls, but even that may not be enough.
RECALL NOW COVERS 7.8 MILLION CARS
US safety regulators are investigating whether Takata airbag inflators made from 2000 to 2007 were improperly sealed or subject to other defects.
At least four deaths and dozens of injuries have been linked to faulty Takata airbags, and their potential to rupture and spray metal shrapnel at vehicle occupants.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged owners of an estimated 7.8 million BMW, Chrysler, Ford , GM, Honda, Mazda , Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota vehicles to replace their airbags.
The Florida lawsuit alleges Takata “had a duty to disclose these safety issues because they consistently marketed their vehicles as reliable and safe”.
US representatives of Takata, Honda and Toyota could not immediately be reached for comment.Reuters