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Takata will plead guilty to covering up recalled airbags, pay $1 billion

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Massive Airbag Recall Prompts Safety Concerns Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Takata will plead guilty to a criminal charge related to a cover-up of its defective airbag inflators, and will pay $1 billion in fines and restitution to affected individuals and automakers who purchased its defective airbags, the AP reports.

The company will pay a $25 million criminal fine, $125 million to individuals injured by defective airbags, and $850 million to automakers that purchased the inflators, which were used in some 70 million airbags. The defective inflators have been blamed for at least 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries. The Takata inflators were used by nearly every major car manufacturer, including BMW, GM, Ford, Mercedes, Nissan, Honda, and Toyota.

The guilty plea is one of the final steps in a years-long saga of defective airbags that have been sold by dozens of automakers. Inflators in the airbags had a defect that could cause dangerous and sometimes fatal shrapnel flying at drivers and passengers when the airbag inflated. High-low temperature cycles and humidity are believed to contribute to the deterioration, which has led to updated inflators that use desiccants to remove moisture from the surrounding air.