Honda Motor Corp. yet again expanded its recall of vehicles with defective Takata airbags, bringing the total Honda vehicles recalled to more than six million to date. As the carmaker looks deeper into the manufacturing and tracking issues at the plant that produced the defective Takata airbag inflators, the recalls grow, leaving Honda owners wondering if their vehicle is next.
Additional vehicles recalled include 88,549 Honda Pilot SUVs from the 2008 model year, 10,868 Honda Civics from the 2004 model year, and 5,454 Honda Accord sedans dating back to 2001. With 3 people having already been killed by exploding airbags in Honda Accords, the justification for small, piecemeal rolling recalls of these model year vehicles which pose a very real safety hazard to consumers is troubling.
The safety defect in Takata airbags centers around airbag inflators and systems manufactured largely between 2000 and 2008 in which the inflator can over-pressurize, rupture and explode upon deployment, sending metal fragments of the inflator itself into the face and body of the vehicle’s occupant(s). At least five deaths (investigation of a sixth is pending) and hundreds of injuries, including eye injuries and puncture wounds, have been linked to the defect. A reported 20 million vehicles across ten manufacturers have been recalled in the U.S. since the recalls began.
Since investigation began in earnest in 2014, it has come to light that both Takata and Honda had some level of knowledge of this defect for a decade, and yet failed to take adequate action to fix the problem and recall affected vehicles. In fact, Takata has long known a problem existed and did not fully share such information, and Honda, the automaker with the largest share of known failures involving serious injuries and deaths to its customers, actively under-reported its knowledge of such incidents to NHTSA.