Honda Responds To US Probe, Expands Recall


(Honda) Image from Wikimedia

After answering 38 questions in a recent probe, Honda has stepped up its efforts in recalling hundreds of thousands of US cars to replace potentially faulty air bags.

Wider Official Recall

The Japanese carmaker promised a broader recall on select models of its cars. This time, the focus is on states with humid climates. The company also elevated the concern into an official recall from its initial announcement of a “safety improvement campaign.”

According to Honda’s announcement, the recall affects cars from 13 states: Texas, Puerto Rico, Alabama, Hawaii, Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, Mississippi, Saipan, South Carolina, Guam, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands. As of press time, the automaker is yet to announce the total number of vehicles to be recalled. It will not be long, however, before Honda reveals the total due to regulatory reporting requirements.

The Defect

Honda’s move comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conducted a safety probe on air bags made by Japanese car part manufacturer, Takata Corp. The US government sent letters to ten carmakers in total, all of which installed Takata-made airbags on different car models.

According to the investigation, the air bags may be potentially defective. Reports say that the air bags, upon exposure to highly humid conditions, could deploy in an abnormal manner. As a result, the air bag inflates way too much and explodes, thus sending metal shrapnel to front occupants.

While Honda said there have been no injuries related to their recall so far, the NHTSA revealed that the defective air bags havebeen linked to four deaths. In total, the NHTSA estimates that the recall would affect nearly 8 million vehicles from 10 different manufacturers.

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Prior to Honda’s move, rivals Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Co. took action over the safety probe and recalled vehicles in the said areas.

New Issue

The Takata airbag recall, however, is not the only matter on Honda’s hands at the moment. In a statement on November 9, the Office of Defect Investigation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a new probe that could initiate a new recall.

This time, the car in question is the Honda Accord, which is the carmaker’s bestselling car in the United States. The probe comes after the government received around 24 complaints in the first half of 2014 over claims of faulty power-steering features. Out of the 24 complaints, four have reported crashes at speeds below 30 miles per hour. According to the NHTSA’s notice, the issue could affect almost 375,000 Accord 2013 models.