Hawaii became the first state to sue Takata Corp. alleging the company knowingly sold potentially defective airbags in a suit filed May 13. The state also claims Takata covered up data showing the airbags were a danger and then delayed recalling them.
Hawaii also named Honda Motor Co., which owns part of Takata, and Honda's US affiliates, American Honda Motor Co., and Honda of America Manufacturing Inc., in the complaint.
The state claims Takata switched to lower-cost ammonium nitrate for its airbag inflators, despite internal testing that the propellant was "unpredictable and prone to explode." Hawaii, which brought the suit through its Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection, is seeking the maximum civil penalty of $10,000 per violation. It also wants Takata to make restitution to owners, run an educational campaign to spur owners to get their cars fixed, and repay profits made from the faulty airbags.
Faulty Takata airbags have killed 13 people and are estimated to have injured more than a 100 more. NHTSA says 28.8 million vehicles with the airbags have been recalled, and potentially 40 million more may need to be recalled.