Honda Motor Company has announced the recall of about 668,000 vehicles in Japan over defective air bags sourced from Takata Corporation.
The recall is said to be across 16 models that were manufactured between 2009 and 2011. The models include the Fit hatchback, its Civic and Accord sedans, the hybrid Insight and its hydrogen fuel cell car FCX Clarity. Honda said it would replace air bag inflators in the recalled vehicles.
The defect in the air bags is said to be the absence of a drying agent because of which ammonium nitrate, a chemical which is used as a propellant in the inflators of the air bags have a tendency to destabilise when exposed to moisture and heat over a prolonged period. The destabilisation is said to carry the risk of making an air bag explode which in turn could spray shrapnel into passenger cabins, according to Reuters.
The defective air bags are said to have claimed the lives of about 14 people till date. It has also been linked to about 150 injuries worldwide. The air bags have led to the biggest ever recall in the auto industry.
This is not the first recall for Honda over the air bags, nor is it the only automaker to do so. Nearly 34 million vehicles were recalled in the US over defective Takata air bags in May 2015. Apart from Honda, other automakers such as BMW, Fiat, Ford and Mazda who had fitted their vehicles with Takata's air bags had to initiate a recall.
The current move by Honda comes after Japan's transport ministry ordered various automakers to recall an additional seven million vehicles in Japan over the air bags. While the government's decision followed that by the US transport authorities, it asked automakers to recall their vehicles in phases by 2019.
The 668,000 figure sums up the total number of vehicles recalled by Honda till date to 51 million. This is about half the 100 million vehicles it has slated for a worldwide recall over the air bags.