Honda is expanding its two-million-vehicle air bag recall by as many as one million more vehicles in California, the automaker said Tuesday. Last month, Honda recalled vehicles in eight other states.
A defective inflator could explode in a crash, sending shards of its metal casing into the passenger compartment. The inflator was made by Takata Corporation, which has said the propellant inside the inflator was not properly prepared and was too powerful. Last month, Takata recommended that customers including Toyota, Ford and Chrysler recall vehicles in Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, saying that high humidity appeared to make the problem more likely to happen.
But Honda said it would recall vehicles in other areas that also have high humidity because it wanted to make sure owners would not be endangered. In addition to the states recommended by Takata, Honda had said it would recall vehicles originally sold or registered in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas.
Honda has since received a report of an "energetic deployment" of an air bag in California, leading to the decision to issue a recall, Chris Martin, a spokesman for the automaker, said in a telephone interview. Mr. Martin also said that the automaker was still calculating how many vehicles are being recalled because it involves tracing vehicle histories. But he estimated the total will be about 3 million in the United States.
The vehicles affected by the recall are the 4-cylinder-engine-equipped 2001-7 Honda Accord; the 2001-2 Honda Accord V6; the 2001-5 Honda Civic; the 2002-6 Honda CR-V; the 2003-11 Honda Element; the 2002-4 Honda Odyssey; the 2003-7 Honda Pilot; the 2006 Honda Ridgeline; the 2003-6 Acura MDX; and the 2002-3 Acura TL and CL.
In a related matter, Volkswagen announced this week that it was recalling about 2,000 Golf and GTI cars from the 2015 model year in the United States because a stabilizer bar could loosen, making the vehicles more difficult to steer, said Mark Gillies, a spokesman for the automaker. VW also issued a stop-sale order to dealers that still had about 800 of the cars on their lots.
The single shrapnel-spewing deployment of an air bag in an old Accord has led Honda to expand its recall by 500,000 to 1 million vehicles. The expansion is limited to cars in California.
Honda, one of eight automakers caught up in the recalls of Takata air bags, had ordered three recalls on June 23. One was national and the other was limited to Southern states with high humidity and two U.S. territories.
At the time, Honda said the total number of vehicles involved in the recalls would be in excess of 2 million. Then the California air bag incident in a 2005 Accord occurred. Spokesman Chris Martin says the total is now about 3 million, including vehicles registered in California.
It's the same problem as always: The air bags made by Japan's Takata can rupture with too much force when a crash occurs. When they do, they spew metal chunks that can injure a car's occupants.
Included in the recall to replace the passenger-side air bags are certain 2003 to 2005 Honda Accords, Civics, CR-Vs, Elements, Pilots, Acura MDX and 2005 Acura RLs and 2003 to 2004 Honda Odysseys. Until California was added, the recall was limited to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
A second recall to replace the driver's front air bag included 2001 to 2007 Accords with four-cylinder engines, 2001-2002 Accords with V-6 engines, 2001 to 2005 Civics, 2002-to 2006 CR-Vs, 2003 to 2011 Elements, 2002 to 2004 Odysseys, 2003 to 2007 Pilots, 2006 Ridgelines, 2003 to 2006 Acura MDXs and 2002 to 2003 Acura TLs and CLs from the same states, now including California.
Those recalls were in addition to the national recall, which roped in certain 2002 to 2003 Civics, CR-Vs and Odysseys; 2003 Accords, Elements, Pilots and Acura MDXs to replace the passenger's front air bag inflator.