discloses fifth Takata air bag-linked fatality, widens
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[November 13, 2014]
By Chang-Ran Kim
TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co said on
Thursday that a driver in Malaysia died in July after being hit by
shrapnel from an air bag supplied by Takata Corp - the fifth such
fatality and the first outside the United States.
The Japanese automaker also widened its recall for the defective air
bags by another 170,000 vehicles globally, taking its total recalls
to nearly 10 million vehicles fitted with potentially defective
Takata air bag inflators since 2008, including U.S. region-specific
Before Thursday's disclosure, Takata air bags had been linked to
four deaths in Honda vehicles in the United States. All the victims
were hit by shrapnel ejected by the air bag.
Defective Takata air bags are the target of a U.S. safety
investigation over the risk they could explode with dangerous force
in an accident and shoot metal shards into the vehicle. More than 17
million vehicles made by nearly a dozen different automakers have
been recalled globally for flawed Takata air bags since 2008.
In the Malaysia accident on July 27, involving a 2003 Honda City
model, the air bag inflator ruptured and sent shrapnel into the
vehicle, some of which struck the female driver, Honda said.
Honda did not give the driver's name or age.
Honda learned of the incident on Aug. 27 and notified Japan's
transport ministry on Sept. 10.
EXPOSED TO MOISTURE
Honda said the Takata air bag inflator that failed in the Malaysia
accident had likely been exposed to excessive moisture at the
supplier's now-shuttered plant in La Grange, Georgia.
The expanded recall covers all Honda cars equipped with air bag
inflators of the same specification made between November 2001 and
November 2003 on the problematic section of a line at that plant,
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A Takata spokeswoman declined to say whether other car makers could
be affected by the same problem, while Japan's transport ministry
said it was looking into that.
"We're working under the assumption that this affects others," said
Masato Sahashi, director of the recall enforcement office at the
ministry. "There's a possibility they were supplying the inflators
to other companies during that period, so we're investigating that."
Honda said it was recalling five models as part of a widening
campaign, including the Fit and Civic. None of the affected models
were sold in North America.
(Additional reporting by Mari Saito; Writing by Kevin Krolicki;
Editing by Chris Gallagher and Ian Geoghegan)
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