Honda Driver Death in Malaysia Adds to Takata Air Bag Fatalities

  • As many as 16 motorists have died in U.S., Malaysia, India
  • Takata seeking buyers amid biggest auto industry recall ever

Honda Motor Co. said a driver died after a Takata Corp. air bag ruptured during a crash last week in Malaysia, lifting the number of fatalities tied to the devices to at least 16 worldwide.

The driver’s 2009 Honda City had been recalled in July 2015 and a repair was never completed, Honda’s Malaysia unit said in an e-mailed statement. Honda confirmed the air bag ruptured with police, though an official cause of death hasn’t been determined, the company said.

The death was the fourth in Malaysia this year involving Takata air bags built with inflators prone to spraying metal and plastic shards at vehicle occupants. The Tokyo-based supplier of auto safety devices is seeking buyers amid global recalls that could exceed 100 million air bags, the biggest safety crisis in the industry’s history.

Takata has said it’s cooperating fully with a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department. The company is negotiating with prosecutors to resolve allegations of criminal wrongdoing, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. The newspaper said prosecutors haven’t discussed a specific charge and any penalty hasn’t been determined. A Takata representative in Tokyo declined to comment.

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