Honda Motor Co said it would recall another 440,000 cars around the world for faulty airbags as rival Toyota Motor Corp faced further probes over its largest-ever safety crisis.
Honda, Japan’s second-largest auto maker, has now recalled close to 950,000 vehicles for airbag problems. The faulty inflators could produce too much pressure and risked rupturing their casings, sending shards towards the driver in an accident.
While auto recalls are not uncommon and the size of Honda’s is not massive, it comes at a sensitive time for the industry. Auto makers are struggling to draw customers back to showrooms after a brutal downturn during the financial crisis, and Toyota, the world’s largest car maker, is facing a storm of criticism over safety issues and its response to them.
In the latest of a string of embarrassing product problems for Toyota, US regulators said they are reviewing dozens of complaints about potential steering problems in newer Toyota Corollas.
Honda Chief Financial Officer Yoichi Hojo said that the recall will likely cost it an estimated 2 billion yen to 3 billion yen ($22 million to $33 million).
The moves and costs come on top of a recall first announced in November 2008 for 4,200 Accord and Civic sedans due to faulty airbag inflators, and expanded last June to cover an additional 510,000 vehicles globally.
The airbags are made by the US unit of Japan’s Takata Corp, a Honda spokesman said. A spokesman at the supplier said the company was not aware of any defect in airbags it supplies to other automakers.
Hojo said Honda will ask Takata for a compensation of some sort and to improve its production line, as the defect originated in the manufacturing process, not in the design approved by Honda.
Last month, Honda announced a global recall of about 646,000 cars for a fault with a window switch.
Honda shares closed 1.6 per cent lower in a Tokyo market up 0.3 per cent, while Toyota shares rose 0.4 per cent.