Honda, the Japanese automaker that counts as a subsidiary the Acura premium brand, has announced it started an investigation over a fatality allegedly caused by Takata’s defective airbags.
The news comes just a day after the automaker – accused by the Center for Auto Safety to grossly underreport to the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration injury and death-claims related to Takata airbags – has announced it asked a third-party audit on the matter. Honda only filed 28 claims to the NHTSA last year, while GM and Toyota during the same period (and for the same matter), reported 1,716 and 1,774 early warning injury-and-death claims.
Now, the automaker is examining whether the death last year of a man who had an accident in his Acura sedan in a California parking lot had something to do with the airbags. As a reminder, millions of Takata-equipped models from numerous automakers have been recalled over the past five years because the airbags have a defective inflator that can explode and send shrapnel and metal debris flying at high velocity inside the cabin.
According to a report from police, in September 2013, Hai Ming Xu was parking his 2002 Acura TL when he accelerated and hit a wall after crashing into several other vehicles. His death supervened because a piece of metal struck him in the face – blown out as the airbag was deploying.