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Honda recalls Accord over airbags

Recall: Honda Australia is recalling some Accords to rectify a potential airbag problem.

More than 1000 Accords to be recalled by Honda Australia due to faulty airbags

10 Nov 2009

POTENTIALLY lethal airbag defects are at the centre of a safety recall by Honda in Australia for 1323 examples of its sixth-generation Accord.

Honda Australia is in the process of contacting the owners of certain 2001 and 2002 model year Accord sedans, the airbag inflator modules in which can rupture under internal air pressure, potentially causing metal fragments to strike the airbag and occupants.

Honda has acknowledged one death and multiple injuries in the US due to the airbag problem, but Honda Australia said no such tragedies had occurred here.

“No incidents have been reported in Australia due to the airbag problem,” said Honda Australia spokesman Mark Higgins. “We are running a campaign now to contact the owners of all affected vehicles.” American Honda Motor Co initially recalled 3940 Accords and Civics from the 2001 model year in the US in November 2008, before a second recall in June of this year involved more of the same model-year vehicles.

The second recall was then expanded in July to include a number of 2002 Accords and Acura models, bringing the total number of vehicles affected to 440,000. No Civic models are affected in Australia.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now asked Honda and its airbag supplier, Takata Corp, to explain why vehicle from the second recall were not recalled in the first recall some eight months earlier.

Honda Australia first issued a recall related to the problem on August 7, when it advised that affected models carry vehicle identification numbers (VINs) from MRHCK16401P010001 to MRHCK16401P010810, MRHCK16501P010031 to MRHCK16501P010180, MRHCK25601P010002 to MRHCK25601P010060, MRHCK26601P010001 to MRHCK26601P011050 and MRHCK26602P040011 to MRHCK26602P040060.

About 440,000 Accord and Civic vehicles have been recalled in the US, where the federal safety regulator has said it “requires additional information from Honda and Takata to more fully evaluate the scope and timeliness” of Honda’s recalls.

The NHTSA opened its investigation into the matter on November 2, but according to Automotive News, Honda has denied any wrongdoing and will assist with the NHTSA’s inquest.

“The initial range of recalled vehicles was based on a relatively small sample of problematic airbag deployments,” Honda spokesman Chris Martin told AN.

“It took some further customer reports of airbag deployments for us to be able to look back and say, these vehicles are not in the lot we identified but have the same problem.” According to AN, American Honda’s managing counsel William Willen said in a September 16 letter to the NHTSA that the company believed Takata subsidiary TK Holdings was to blame for the airbag defect.

The problem may be “related to a specific production process at a TK Holdings Inc facility that manufactured and formed the propellant,” said the letter, which added that Honda decided which vehicles to recall based on information supplied by TK Holdings.

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