— Honda will pay $5 million to settle Arizona allegations that Honda made serious mistakes in the way it handled the issue of deadly Takata airbags.
Arizona officials believe 40,000 defective Takata airbags are still in vehicles traveling on the roads because vehicle owners haven't taken their cars to dealerships for free Takata airbag inflator replacements.
The Arizona attorney general alleges Honda should have warned consumers about the Takata airbags by September 2012 but the automaker waited until November 2015 to notify affected customers.
The Takata airbags were installed in 2001-2016 Honda vehicles, and most of the deaths from exploding airbag inflators have occurred in Honda vehicles.
The last known death caused by a Takata inflator occurred in August after the Arizona driver of a 2002 Honda Civic was killed by shrapnel from the fractured airbag inflator.
According to the settlement, 40,000 Arizona customers who haven't had their Takata airbags replaced could be rewarded with up to $2.1 million in gift cards. The settlement agreement says the gift cards will be used as an "incentive" to "compel" owners to take their vehicles to dealerships for free repairs.
In other words, Honda must pay up to $2.1 million because Arizona car owners have ignored multiple recall notices for five years.
The settlement says the cash-equivalent gift cards can only be activated after the consumer takes their vehicle to a Honda dealership for the free airbag replacement.
The attorney general says $150 gift cards will be mailed to owners who have vehicles equipped with Alpha inflators, and $50 gift cards will be mailed to owners who have vehicles equipped with non-Alpha inflators.
Although Honda has taken extreme actions to convince owners to get their vehicles repaired for free, the Arizona settlement requires Honda to pay $650,000 "for outreach to inform consumers of the recall and to encourage drivers to get their defective airbags replaced."
Honda will also pay $100,000 to Arizona "for other consumer outreach efforts," and pay $500,000 "as payment to the State."
The settlement also requires Honda to pay restitution to more than 15,000 Arizona consumers who initially purchased in Arizona a Honda or Acura vehicle between September 2012 and November 2015 equipped with the Takata airbags subject to recalls. Each Honda customer will receive a $100 check in restitution.
Arizona Honda vehicle customers will automatically receive restitution checks or repair incentive gift cards, but consumers who have questions may call 855-917-3583.