Honda adds 2.2 million vehicles to Takata air bag recall

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[February 04, 2016]  By Paul Lienert and David Shepardson
 
 DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co Ltd is expanding its recall in North America of late-model vehicles equipped with potentially defective Takata air bags, adding 2.23 million vehicles.

The Japanese automaker said certain Acura and Honda vehicles from model years 2005-2016 are being recalled to replace Takata PSDI-5 driver-side inflators.

It recalled another 269,000 similar models in Canada on Monday for the same issue.

Takata Corp told U.S. safety regulators two weeks ago that about 3.9 million PSDI-5 inflators sold to several different vehicle manufacturers could rupture and kill, or cause serious injury to vehicle occupants. Honda's latest recall is included in that count.

The company said on Wednesday no PSDI-5 ruptures had been reported in its vehicles.

The Japanese automaker also said it was recalling 341,000 Accords due to a separate issue affecting the electronic control unit used in supplemental restraint systems in 2008-2010 models, which could result in airbags failing to deploy.

In addition, Honda's U.S. unit confirmed it had instructed U.S. dealers to stop selling some of its new model Civics equipped with 2.0 liter base engines. The Accord and Civic are Honda's best-selling models in the United States, placed at fifth and sixth, respectively, in sales in 2015.

Honda declined to comment on U.S. media reports that the order and a related recall notice were issued for around 34,000 new Civics, which have been selling briskly since U.S. sales began in November, due to a manufacturing issue which may cause engine damage or failure.

AIR BAG RECALLS SET TO CONTINUE

Defective Takata inflators have been linked to nine U.S. deaths since 2004, all but one of them in older Honda vehicles.

Honda previously has recalled more than 6 million U.S. vehicles since 2008 to replace defective Takata inflators.

Honda said the PSDI-5 inflators will be replaced, beginning this summer, with parts from another supplier.

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Its latest action indicates the continuing Takata recalls may not be over.

On Tuesday, Democratic U.S. senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey urged NHTSA to recall all cars with Takata inflators. The senators estimated that 24 million such vehicles remained on U.S. roads.

On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson said "the never-ending flow of piecemeal recall announcements" on Takata air bags "needs to end".

Asked about a broader recall, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters on Tuesday that NHTSA's investigation "has not been closed. There is still ongoing work. ... We will continue to take action as we deem appropriate."

Through December, NHTSA had recalled 23 million potentially defective Takata inflators in about 19 million vehicles. Two weeks ago, Takata agreed to seek the recall of a further 5.1 million driver-side inflators, including the PSDI-5 types plus 1.2 million SDI driver-side inflators.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit and David Shepardson in Washington; Additional reporting by Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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