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More Japanese Car Recalls; Now Honda's Turn

Honda Motor Corp.

Posted on 12 Feb 2010

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Honda recalls are adding to Japanese automaker woes. In a press release, the automaker announced it has expanded a previously announced recall of certain 2001 and 2002 model-year vehicles to replace the driver's airbag inflator in an additional 378,758 vehicles in the U.S.

The driver's airbag inflators in these vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which may cause the airbag inflator casing to rupture, resulting in metal fragments passing through the airbag cushion material and possibly causing injury or fatality to vehicle occupants.

Honda says it is aware of 12 incidents related to this issue as of February 2010. While Honda knows of two additional events when the decision to first expand the recall was made in July 2009, the automaker says it is not aware of any new events that have occurred after July 2009. However, Honda says it cannot be completely certain that the driver's airbag inflator in the vehicles being added to this recall at this time will perform as designed. Therefore, the carmaker decided to add certain 2001 and 2002 Accord, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V, and selected 2002 Acura TL vehicles to this recall.*

Honda announced the recall expansion to encourage all owners of these vehicles to take their vehicle to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification from Honda that their vehicle is affected. Notification to customers will start within this month.

Honda says that it originally brought this matter to the attention of NHTSA and has kept NHTSA apprised of its decision to include additional vehicles in the expanded recall.

As background, sixteen months ago Honda announced to NHTSA a plan to conduct a recall on fewer than 4,000 model year 2001 Accord and Civic vehicles to replace the driver's airbag inflator, based on our analysis of four instances attributed to the cause of airbag deployments that resulted in rupture of the driver's airbag inflator.

After the original recall in November, 2008, two additional incidents were reported, including one fatality from a vehicle not included in that recall. Our ongoing analysis led Honda to recognize the potential for additional vehicles to exhibit this symptom, and in July, 2009 Honda expanded that recall to include approximately 440,000 model year 2001 and 2002 Accord, Civic and certain 2002 Acura TL vehicles.

*Honda is also adding one (1) Honda Pilot and one (1) Acura CL vehicle, each produced in late 2002, to this recall.