The third largest Japanese automaker doesn’t seem to be able to avoid mishaps, as it has recently announced it had used inflators produced by a second company being investigated in the US for suspected defects.
Honda, the third largest Japanese carmaker is the biggest client for Japan’s Takata Corp. the auto safety parts supplier at the heart of a growing global safety crisis. Its airbag inflators can explode with too much force and send metal shards and other debris inside the cabin at high velocity, with millions of autos recalled worldwide since 2008. The defect has been tied so far to eight deaths, all in Honda vehicles, as the automaker is the worst affected among eleven implicated peers by the global safety crisis involving the flawed airbags. Honda announced recently it had used inflators made by ARC Automotive Inc. for a yet to be determined quota of autos manufactured around 2000 to 2001, according to a company spokesperson. “This shows the difficulty of making safe inflators,” said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at researcher Carnorama in Tokyo. “The authorities and the industry have also become more sensitive about the matter of airbag safety due to the Takata issue.”
The automaker, so far only recalling worldwide vehicles using airbags manufactured by Takata Corp., is now looking to establish the number of cars that used ARC Automotive products and whether a safety campaign is necessary. Inflators produced by ARC Automotive, a supplier for minivans made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and a Kia sedan, were implicated in two incidents reported to regulators. They prompted an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, according to documents recently posted on its website.