Japanese car giants recall three million vehicles

Monday 23 June 2014 22.27
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Honda said the flaw could pose a fire risk
Honda said the flaw could pose a fire risk
The recalls come amid fears that airbags manufactured by Takata Corp could explode
The recalls come amid fears that airbags manufactured by Takata Corp could explode

Japanese car giants Honda, Mazda and Nissan are recalling millions of vehicles worldwide amid fears that a defect in airbags manufactured by supplier Takata Corp could cause them to explode.

Honda Motor said its recall covers about 2,033,000 vehicles which were produced between August 2000 and December 2005.

The affected vehicles include over one million in North America and 668,000 in Japan.

Subject to the recall are a total of 13 types of vehicles including popular Fit and Accord models.

Nissan has meanwhile recalled a combined 755,000 vehicles, including 128,000 in Japan and 627,000 overseas.

A spokeswoman for Mazda said: "The recall will cover 11,832 vehicles at home and 147,975 units overseas, mainly in Europe and China."

Japan’s Takata Corp, which made the airbag, noted its US subsidiary had manufactured the airbag, apologising for the problem and vowing to make its utmost efforts to prevent a recurrence.

"We apologise deeply for causing tremendous trouble and worries to client companies, users of our products and other people concerned", the company said in a statement.

The series of recalls cover both passenger-side and driver-side air bags, which the world's second-biggest automotive safety parts maker manufactured in 2000-02.

The potentially-flawed air bag inflators carry a risk of exploding and shooting out shrapnel at drivers and passengers.

The same inflator problem has also caused Toyota to recall millions of vehicles globally.

These figures bring the total number of vehicles recalled over the past five years to around 10.5 million. 

This number is likely to grow after Takata said it was willing to support a number of car makers in replacing certain air bag inflators it made in 2000-07 for vehicles in some high humidity regions in the United States.

Takata CEO Shigehisa Takada and Chief Operating Officer Stefan Stocker said the company was working with safety regulators and car makers.

"We will aim to further strengthen our quality control system and work united as a company to prevent problems from happening again," they said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the company said it was unclear what the financial impact of the recalls would be.

Earlier this month, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began investigating whether Takata inflators made after 2002 are prone to failure and whether driving in high humidity contributes to the risk of air bag explosions.

In an 11 June letter to the NHTSA, Takata said it would support "regional campaigns" to replace certain driver-side airbag inflators made between January 2004 and June 2007, as well as certain passenger-side inflators made between June 2000 and July 2004.

Takata said it believes these inflators were supplied to BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota for vehicles sold in the United States.

If the automakers agree, Takata will support the replacement of those inflators in vehicles in high humidity areas of Puerto Rico, Florida, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands, the company said.

But it did not admit that there is any safety defect in the air bags, saying currently available information does not indicate that.