Tokyo-based Takata has formally admitted it provided false information to clients about its defective airbags. Faulty inflators have been linked to a number of deaths and lots of injuries globally.
Japanese car parts manufacturer Takata pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to pay $1 billion (940,000 euros) in penalties over its defective airbag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 15 people, the US Justice Department announced.
The admission of guilt came after lawyers representing victims alleged that carmakers Toyota, Ford, Honda and Nissan knowingly purchased airbags from Takata despite being aware of their defects.
Takata carried out a scheme to defraud customers and manufacturers by providing false and manipulated airbag inflator test data to make their performance appear better and safe.
"Even after the inflators began to experience repeated problems including ruptures causing injuries and deaths, Takata executives continued to withhold information from their customers," a statement by the Justice Department said.
Takata's defective airbag inflators have forced carmakers to recall tens of millions of vehicles worldwide.
The faulty inflators can potentially rupture explosively when deployed in a collision, spraying metal fragments at passengers as well as drivers.
At least 15 deaths and more than 150 injuries have been linked to the airbag issue, Takata has admitted.
hg/jd (dpa, AFP)