More than 100 million Takata airbag inflators have been recalled worldwide. File photo: Joe Skipper / Reuters

Wilmington, Delaware - Takata has reached a settlement with representatives of those injured by lethally defective air bags, paving the way for the company to come out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy and move forward with a reorganisation plan.

According to documents outlining the agreement between Takata, its creditors and injured drivers filed in a Delaware bankruptcy court on Saturday, two groups representing people suing over the airbags have dropped their opposition to the restructuring plan. Under the settlement, lawsuits will be resolved through a trust fund.

Takata was forced into bankruptcy amid lawsuits, multimillion-dollar fines and crushing recall costs involving the airbags. Key to the restructuring plan is the planned sale of most of its assets to a Chinese-owned rival for $1.6 billion (R19.11 billion).

Takata's airbag inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 16 people have died and more than 180 have been injured due to the problem, which has touched off the largest series of automotive recalls in history, with more than 100 million inflators recalled worldwide.

Thirteen automakers have joined the agreement, including General Motors, Ford and Toyota. The manufacturers, which are both Takata's largest customers and biggest creditors, are indemnified in their agreements with Takata from losses and liabilities related to the airbag inflators.

AP