There could be light at the end of the tunnel for the Takata airbag fiasco, as the company is preparing a deal with US federal prosecutors which could see the Japanese auto components supplier pay out a US$1 billion (RM4.48 billion) settlement, according to The Wall Street Journal. Possibly reached in early 2017, the settlement also means Takata will have to plead guilty to criminal misconduct.

The settlement payout is to be done in segments, partly paid up front and the rest to be paid over several years. Takata is also looking at a possible wire fraud charge, with prosecutors stating that it was likely that Takata misinformed its customers (such as Honda) about the safety of its airbags. The company has admitted that it failed to notify regulators within the stipulated five-day window that there was a safety issue with its products.

The recall has been far and wide-ranging. Toyota recalled 5.8 million vehicles worldwide in October, including those already recalled in 2010. Worldwide, Takata airbags have been linked to 16 deaths, with most occurring in the US but also includes four in Malaysia.