Honda says it’s adding nearly 105,000 vehicles to its growing U.S. recall of driver’s side air bag inflators that can explode with too much force. The added vehicles include nearly 89,000 Pilot SUVs from the 2008 model year, as well as about 11,000 Civics from 2004 and another 5,000 Accords from the 2001 model year. According to Honda, this is the first recall of 2008 Pilots for potential problems with driver’s air bags made by Takata Corp. of Japan.
As we have written in several issues, the inflators can blow apart a metal canister and spew shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least six people have died worldwide due to the problem. Dealers will replace the driver air bag inflators for free. With the added vehicles, Honda has now recalled 5.5 million Honda and Acura cars and SUVs nationwide from the 2001 to 2011 model years because of the air bag problems.
Thus far, 10 different automakers have recalled more than 17 million cars and trucks in the U.S. and 22 million worldwide because of the air bag problem. There could be as many as 30 million vehicles with Takata air bags across the U.S. Honda said in documents posted on March 19 by U.S. safety regulators that it found the additional vehicles by checking Takata inflator part numbers against Honda vehicle identification numbers in its factory records. Some 2001 Accords and 2004 Civics already were included in a recall from last year.
Honda said it will send letters to owners of vehicles in the expanded recall “over time” as replacement parts become available. The recalls are nationwide for driver’s side air bags. There were separate recalls announced last year for passenger air bags in high-humidity areas including Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As I mentioned, NHTSA began fining Takata $14,000 per day on Feb. 20 for failing to fully cooperate in the government’s investigation. The fines had grown to $392,000 as of March 19. The Justice Department also is investigating Takata for possible criminal prosecution. It should be noted that Takata has known about the air bag problems since at least 2004.
Source: Associated Press
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