There was an interesting item that came across the desk yesterday and which prompted the question: “Is Takata technology any good, in the first place?” Yes, it is a hard question, but it must be asked in the wake of a Reuters story that said Honda was recalling at least 11,000 older Accords to have their airbags or components replaced, some for the fifth time in four years.
The reason for the recalls is that Honda had originally installed the wrong Takata inflators on some of its models. Since 2008, Honda has recalled more than 8 million vehicles in the U.S. Many of these vehicles have been recalled multiple times for airbag-related issues. Indeed, some of the vehicles have been recalled as many as five times in only the last two years. Some of the vehicles were found to have the wrong Takata airbag inflators installed. Takata declined to comment yesterday.
According to Honda, airbag modules that were supposed to be used in 2004-2007 Accords designed for South America found their way into vehicles sold here. The parts don’t meet U.S. regulations.
Honda also noted that it has recalled some 2004-05 Accords four times. The Accords involved in this portion of the recall were recalled beginning in June 2014. They were recalled to replace bad Takata airbag inflators. And, the carmaker has recalled some 2006-07 Accords twice in 2015.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been exerting greater pressure on Honda and other automakers as it seeks to have defective airbag inflators repaired, making the cars safer for drivers. The agency has expressed its frustration with the pace of repairs and has been trying to have them speeded up, too. In the latest recall notice, posted on the agency’s website, www.safercar.gov, NHTSA noted that some repairs were stymied because the wrong inflators had been installed originally.
The Takata airbag recall is now the largest safety recall in history. With more than 24 million vehicles under recall in the U.S. and more nearly 55 million worldwide, exploding, rupturing airbags have claimed 11 victims worldwide. In the U.S., the latest victim was a teenager whose 2002 Civic was damaged in an accident where the airbag deployed. The high school senior was struck by shrapnel from the inflator housing and killed March 31.
Reuters contributed the information used in this story.