OTTAWA - Canadian drivers have launched three class action lawsuits against embattled Japanese auto supplier Takata over defective airbags linked to at least five fatalities worldwide, lawyers confirmed Friday.
The plaintiffs are seeking a total of $1.9 billion for personal injuries, car repairs and an expected loss in value of their vehicles included in a massive global safety recall, Merchant Law Group LLP lead partner Tony Merchant told AFP.
In addition to Merchant, two other Canadian law firms have launched suits, and a fourth is considering doing so.
If they are certified by a judge, they would likely be lumped into a single class action lawsuit in the coming months.
About 20 million vehicles produced by some of the world's biggest automakers are being recalled due to the risk their Takata-made airbags could deploy with excessive explosive power, spraying potentially fatal shrapnel into the vehicle.
The problem has been linked to at least five deaths globally, with a sixth death under investigation.
"They're making products that are like grenades going off," Merchant told AFP. "These things are supposed to bring safety and instead they're a danger."
The Canadian litigation involves 400,000 vehicles equipped with Takata airbags.
Potentially affected automakers include Acura, BMW (IW 1000/31), Chrysler (IW 1000/27), Dodge/Ram, Ford, Honda (IW 1000/29), Infiniti, Lexus, Mazda (IW 1000/175), Mitsubishi (IW 1000/115), Nissan (IW 1000/39), Pontiac (IW 500/5), Subaru (IW 1000/2000) and Toyota (IW 1000/8).
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015