The third largest Japanese automaker, Honda Motor, claims the company had knowledge of a failing Takata airbag inflator inside cars that were covered by a recall back in 2002 – though the inflator used a different design from the one implicated in the massive Takata debacle.
This inflator had a different construction design from one that ruptured in a 2004 crash that was not publicly disclosed until 2009. Previously the 2004 accident was the first known instance of a Takata airbag inflator failure in Honda vehicles. The 2002 recall allegedly “is unrelated to all later ruptures” and “involves a prior generation of air bag inflators than the ones that are the subject of subsequent recalls,” according to a company spokesperson. Both Honda cars had airbags built by Japanese auto safety parts supplier Takata Corp. – which also built the airbags in millions of vehicles recalled worldwide since 2008.
A Takata spokesperson also corroborated to Reuters Honda’s claim that inflators in the two vehicles were of different designs. The latter has been involved in massive recalls from ten automakers since 2008, with the faulty inflator being susceptible to rupture – especially if exposed to moisture – encountered in humid regions. The defective inflator can explode with excessive force, sending metal debris and shrapnel inside the cabin at high velocity.