Honda Expands Takata Airbag Recall Following Fifth Fatality
Honda expands Takata airbag recall following fifth fatality.Reuters

Honda Motor has expanded its recall over defective airbags by another 170,000 vehicles globally, on learning that a woman driver in Malaysia had died after a July accident involving an airbag supplied by Japanese firm Takata.

Honda said it was recalling five models as part of a widening campaign, including the Fit compact and the Civic. None of the affected models were sold in North America, reports said.

Honda also said the expanded recall covers airbag inflators manufactured at Takata's Georgia plant between November 2001 and November 2003.

Prior to Thursday's disclosure, Takata's airbags had been linked to at least four deaths in the US, all in Honda vehicles. The victims were reportedly hit by metal fragments expelled by the airbag.

The Fifth Accident

Honda said the July accident involved a 2003 Honda City model and that the airbag inflator ruptured and sent shrapnel into the vehicle, some of which struck the driver.

However, the firm said it was not clear whether the driver was killed by the airbag explosion or another cause, citing a local police report.

US Warning

Last month, the US highway safety regulator said it did not expect Takata to be able to fully supply replacement parts for millions of defective airbags until January 2015 or later.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under pressure for its handling of the defective air bags connected to four deaths in Honda cars, advised Takata and ten automakers to procure parts from other manufacturers.

It also asked other automobile manufacturers to be ready to expand their recalls beyond the hot and humid countries, such as Florida and Puerto Rico, which have been affected by the fault. The humidity in these regions could reportedly be affecting the propellant that was triggering the airbags in the event of a collision.

In June, Honda recalled over two million vehicles, including the Fit, to repair potentially faulty airbags.

More than 17 million vehicles have been recalled the world over for defective Takata airbags since 2008.