May 15, 2015

    Honda recalls 4.89m vehicles over Takata airbag defect


    HONDA yesterday added 4.89 million vehicles to a ballooning global recall over an airbag defect that has been blamed for killing several drivers.

    Japan's No. 3 carmaker made the announcement just a day after Toyota and Nissan said they were calling back a combined 6.5 million vehicles over fears about airbags made by embattled supplier Takata.

    The latest moves bring the number of vehicles recalled just by Japan's biggest carmakers to more than 30 million, with overseas rivals including General Motors also affected by the snowballing scandal.

    Honda has now recalled more than 19 million vehicles globally while more than eight million Toyotas have been recalled, and approximately four million Nissans.

    Honda, which is Takata's biggest airbag customer, has seen its bottom line take a hit due to soaring costs from the affair.

    In February, Honda said its boss Takanobu Ito was stepping down as the firm grappled with the crisis. Takata is facing calls for a criminal probe and was accused in a United States class-action lawsuit of "deception and obfuscation" over the defect, while Honda has been named in the claim that alleges it conspired with the supplier to hide the flaw for years.

    As many as six deaths have been linked to the fault, with global carmakers scrambling to fix vehicles equipped with Takata-made airbags that could improperly inflate and rupture, potentially firing deadly shrapnel at the occupants.

    But Honda said yesterday that there were no accidents stemming from its latest recall. "There were no injuries or deaths in relation to the recalls this time - they're meant to prevent accidents before they happen," a Tokyo-based spokesman said.

    Honda shares closed 0.07 per cent lower to 4,188 yen (S$46) in Tokyo, with the recall announced shortly before markets closed.

    The latest recall of 4.89 million Hondas affects more than 20 models manufactured between 2002 and 2008, including 1.72 million sold in Japan.