The third-largest Japanese automaker is the largest client of Takata Corp., the auto safety parts supplier that is at the heart of a rising scandal involving millions of cars equipped with defective airbags.
Honda – together with another nine automotive brands – have recalled millions of potentially defective cars because they were equipped with Takata produced airbags – the inflator designed to trigger the airbag can explode with excessive force and send shrapnel flying at high velocity inside the cabin. Casualties were only reported in Honda vehicles so far and the automaker is now facing intense scrutiny from the US safety regulators. With the pending probe hot on its heels, the carmaker last week expanded its recall of Takata equipped cars to cover additional cars from model years 2001-2006 that were sold or registered in humid areas across the US. The company also took its “safety campaign” to a formal recall a day after the NHTSA asked its officials to provide documents and respond to questions under oath about its Takata-installed airbags.
“My heart aches over the fact that our customers have been injured or killed in our products with air bags,” said Honda Chief Executive Takanobu Ito during an event. “We are, as are other companies, conducting regional recalls in the southern states of the United States and analyzing the data. What we need to do first is to get those result and take appropriate action.”
The CEO also added he decided his company should now prioritize quality improvements and upgrade safety over the previously imposed target of delivering 6 million cars since the fiscal year starting April 2016.