Attorney General Denise George announces USVI settlement with Honda

Honda agreed to provide the V.I. approximately 50 new Honda vehicles and a payment of over $1 million Attorney General Denise N. George is pleased to announce an out of court settlement with automaker Honda arising from a 2016 enforcement lawsuit the V.I. Government filed against Honda for engaging in a pattern of unlawful practices in connection with the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of the dangerous Takata airbags installed in vehicles sold to Virgin Islands consumers, in violation of local consumer laws.

In 2016, the GVI filed a civil CICO enforcement and consumer protection lawsuit against Honda and Takata, for repeated violations of Virgin Islands consumer protection laws. As part of the settlement, Honda agreed to provide the Virgin Islands approximately 50 new Honda vehicles valued at over $2.1 million in addition to a payment of over $1 million to the Virgin Islands Government in the CICO and consumer lawsuit. The first set of vehicles recently arrived in the V.I. and the delivery of the remaining vehicles is still in progress. Vehicles have been assigned so far to the Department of Justice, as well as the Division of Licensing and Consumer Affairs and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, both of which assisted in the lawsuit. Vehicles were also assigned to the Inspector General’s Office enforcement section.

AG George said, “Although the terms of the settlement were substantially negotiated before I came on board as Attorney General, I am pleased to have finalized what I deem to be a great settlement for the GVI in this government enforcement lawsuit. The receipt of these vehicles at no cost to the government will help to satisfy agency vehicle needs through replacing or building the fleetwithout the associated purchase price while saving on the costs of maintaining the older existing vehicles. Overall, the entire settlement proceeds will provide much-needed funds for criminal, white- collar and consumer investigations, prosecutions, and litigation support.”

The use of Takata’s airbags led to the largest recall in automotive history, involving more than 40 million vehicles in the U.S. and a $1 billion criminal plea agreement with the federal Department of Justice, and resulted in TK Holdings’ filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2017.

There are still many vehicles in the Virgin Islands equipped with Takata’s dangerous airbags. Airbags are one of the most critical safety devices in a car; however, the Department of Justice alleged that Takata airbags exposed a car’s occupants to serious dangers. More than 200 Takata airbags have exploded violently, sending shrapnel throughout the vehicles and causing severe injuries and more than 20 deaths worldwide. One Virgin Islands resident was gravely injured when her Takata airbag ruptured while she was driving with her children in her car on St. Croix.

Residents of the Virgin Islands are particularly at risk from Takata airbags. High temperatures and high humidity can accelerate the breakdown of the chemical propellant used in Takata airbags and cause them to explode. For that reason, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has required automakers to prioritize the recall of affected vehicles in the Virgin Islands and other jurisdictions with high heat and high humidity.

Attorney General George urges consumers to visit http://www.safercar.gov/rs/takata/ or to contact their car dealer to determine whether their car is subject to a recall, to request required repairs, and to seek a replacement vehicle from the dealer until their airbag can be replaced or repaired.

PRESS RELEASE
February 24, 2021
Sandra Goomansingh
Media Relations Director
(340)774-5666 ext. 10105
Email: Sandra.goomansingh@doj.vi.gov

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