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Honda hoping for more recall response

Called back: The Accord Euro built between 2009-11 is one of a number of Honda models that has been recalled over a faulty airbag inflator.

Takata airbag recall progressing, but Honda calling on all owners to respond

Honda logo15 May 2017

By TIM NICHOLSON

HONDA Australia has replaced more than 400,000 faulty Takata airbag inflators on its affected cars, but the company is urging all owners to check to see if their vehicle requires a repair as many are yet to respond.

The Japanese car-maker was one of more than 30 automotive brands caught up in the massive Takata airbag inflator recall that has now scooped up more than 100 million cars globally.

According to Honda Australia, the company has already recalled 426,198 individual cars with a combined 650,379 inflators given that there are some vehicles with multiple inflators that require a fix.

Of that total, Honda’s 107 dealers have replaced 410,463 inflators as at May 1, 2017, with a completion rate of 64 per cent.

The car-maker says it is averaging about 5000 inflator repairs per week, but there are still 236,159 left to be repaired.

Despite Honda’s progress, the company says it only has a 53 per cent response rate from owners, meaning that about 160,000 customers in Australia are yet to respond to the recall notice.

Honda Australia has complied with the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) Code of Conduct that states companies must send at least three letters to owners, with the third letter sent as registered mail.

Honda says that in some cases it has exceeded the minimum requirements to get in touch with customers. Last year alone it sent out 440,000 letters.

There is a dedicated website where people can see if their vehicles are affected, and a recall customer contact centre which, as well as taking inquiries, has also made thousands of direct calls – and sent about 50,000 text messages – to impacted owners.

It is also investigating using social media channels to communicate with owners this year.

The Takata fault relates to a pyrotechnic inflator which was incorrectly assembled, allowing the ingress of moisture under a certain set of circumstances including a high humidity environment.

Destabilisation of the propellant can be caused by the presence of water and when triggered a spike in internal pressure can rupture the metallic casing. The resulting shrapnel has the potential to injure occupants of the vehicle.

There have been no reports of fatalities relating to affected Takata airbag inflators in Hondas in Australia, but internationally there have been 15 deaths, including five in Malaysia and 10 in the United States. There are more than 180 reported injuries in the US.

Last month, a woman was reportedly injured in the Northern Territory after the airbag in her Toyota RAV4 failed to properly deploy and a small piece of metal struck her.

A number of Honda models in Australia are impacted, with driver and/or passenger airbag inflators requiring a fix.

Some of the models include Jazz, Civic, CR-V, Accord Euro, Accord, MDX, City, Insight and Legend, while the date of manufacture ranges from 2001 to 2013, depending on the model.

Concerned owners should check Honda’s website, or the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s product recalls website for more information.

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