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Honda to expand investigative air bag recall globally

Honda to expand investigative air bag recall globally

The logo of an airbag made by Takata Corp is seen on a passenger seat of
Honda Motor Co's renewal hybrid sedan car ''Legend'', during its unveiling event
in Tokyo in this November 10, 2014 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino/Files

TOKYO (Reuters)
- Honda Motor said it will expand an 'investigative' recall to replace
potentially lethal Takata Corp air bag inflators across the globe, taking the
total Takata-related recall tally of all brands to more than 19 million since

Honda earlier added about 2.6 million cars in the United States when it
expanded nationwide a recall of driver-side air bag inflators that was
previously limited to 11 states and territories with hot and humid climates.

Honda is working out which models and how many vehicles would be covered
under a similar recall in other markets, a spokeswoman said on Tuesday. Takata's
air bag inflators have been found to rupture and shoot metal shards into the
vehicle, and have been linked to five deaths.

As consumer concerns grow over the safety of Takata air bags, the U.S.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last month ordered the
supplier to take nationwide a recall of certain driver-side inflators that had
been limited to areas of high humidity.

Takata has refused, challenging NHTSA's legal authority to order such a
recall when the cause behind the unusual deployment of its air bags is still

Given Takata's response, Honda's U.S. unit said on Monday it would
voluntarily expand its regional recall to cover a total 5.4 million vehicles
across the United States.

In Japan, the transport ministry said Honda had informed it on Tuesday of its
plans to take similar action in the domestic market. About 200,000 vehicles from
Honda and Mazda Motor Corp would be subject to an expanded recall in Japan, the
ministry has said. Mazda is still considering whether to follow suit.

Unlike NHTSA, Japan's regulator cannot order a recall unless the cause of the
problem is known. Transport Minister Akihiro Ohta said the ministry would see
whether it should change the law to be able to force an 'investigative' recall
after gauging the current series of Takata-related recalls, but added there were
no immediate plans.

Several automakers have called back millions of cars in the United States to
replace Takata-made inflators and investigate the root cause of the problem in
what is called a Safety Improvement Campaign, which is different from a typical
recall to address known defects.

Takata is struggling to make replacement parts fast enough, and has forecast
a loss this business year amid an escalating recall crisis.

The Nikkei business daily on Tuesday quoted Honda CEO Takanobu Ito as saying
the automaker would step in to support Takata if needed, but Honda said he was
not specifically referring to financial aid.
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