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Hawaii receives settlement from recalled airbag company, but where does the money go?

HONOLULU (KHON2) - It was one of the largest recalls in automotive history. Millions of vehicles affected because of airbags manufactured by Takata.

Wednesday, the state announced it has reached a $7-million settlement with the company. Where does that money go and what's next?

This settlement is divided among Hawaii, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because Takata is currently in bankruptcy, Hawaii was only able to get $3-million. Officials tell us it's the largest amount compared to other states. 

Executive Director Stephen Levins of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says Hawaii is at the greatest risk.
     
There's a higher chance of Takata's airbags to explode because of Hawaii's high temperatures and humidity. 

The question is, how will the $3-million settlement money be spent? This time around, it will not go to individuals who had their vehicles recalled because only a limited amount was available due to the bankruptcy. 

"Attorney fees will need to be paid in this case but the vast majority of the money goes to the state of Hawaii to continue to prosecute consumer protection cases, including our cases against the four car manufacturers," said Levins. 

That's right, Levins says more lawsuits are to follow this time against Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Ford. 

Levins says the state is seeking restitution from them and hopefully impacted consumers will receive a portion of it. 

The state believes there are 180-thousand vehicles with Takata airbags in Hawaii alone. We're told 100-thousand of those have not been repaired.

Vehicles impacted include:
-2001 and 2002 Honda Civics
-2003 Acura CLs
-certain 2006 Ford Rangers

Those are only a handful of the recalled vehicles. To check if your car may be affected, click here. 


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