Bloomberg News report
SHANGHAI (Dec. 16, 2014) — Honda Motor Co. is calling back about 569,000 vehicles in China to investigate potential defects with airbags made by Takata Corp., underscoring the global reach of the safety crisis after similar campaigns in the U.S., Canada and Japan.
GAC-Honda, the joint venture between Honda and Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., will recall 527,136 Accords produced from May 2002 to December 2007 to replace the driver-side airbags, according to a statement posted on the website of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. Another Honda venture will recall 26,128 Elysion minivans made from June 2012 to June 2014, the company said.
GAC-Honda will also recall 16,505 Fit Saloon cars manufactured between Oct. 30, 2002 and Dec. 30, 2003, Chinese regulators said.
The latest recalls will add to the more than 13 million cars Honda has called back globally to replace Takata airbags that can deploy with too much force and spew metal parts at motorists.
Auto makers globally now have recalled more than 20 million vehicles with Takata airbags since 2008.
Honda has tapped two alternative airbag suppliers to make substitute parts after Takata's devices were linked to four fatalities in the U.S. and the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child in Malaysia.
“Because of the increasing use of common components, car makers can be extremely vulnerable if a single, key supplier like Takata fails in quality,” Seiji Sugiura, an auto analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Center, said by phone. “Honda and other car makers will have to switch to other suppliers in the longer term.”
No injuries and deaths have been linked to the recalled vehicles in China, Misato Fukushima, a spokeswoman for Tokyo- based Honda, said by phone. The auto maker will announce more campaigns in other markets once it figures out how many vehicles to recall, she said.
Zhu Linjie, a spokesman for Honda in China, said the recall will take place from Feb. 28 because the replacement parts aren't available right now. Motorists can drive the cars as usual and don't have to disable the airbags, he said.
Honda's latest action was an investigative recall, which auto makers conduct as a preventive measure to fix vehicles before establishing a defect officially exists.
This Bloomberg News report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.