Honda reportedly plans recall of 20M more Takata airbags

Honda was reported today to be planning a recall of an additional 20 million Takata-made airbags.

In a pre-emptive move, Honda Motor Co. was reportedly ready to recall more than 20 million Takata-made airbags Sunday. The information was published by Japan’s Nikkei though no sources were named. The Honda plan will cost about 200 billion yen or $1.87 billion. The announcement is global in scope.

Until January, Honda was Takata’s largest customer as the automaker used the airbag manufacturer as its sole source. And, Honda has retained a 1.50 percent stake in the major Japanese parts supplier. Honda’s action could have a larger impact on other automakers, though, what the impact will be remains to be seen.

The new move follows last week’s action by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) where the agency ordered Takata to replace between 35 and 40 million airbags. The order covers all airbags that don’t use a stabilizer in the ammonium nitrate propellant. Investigators who have done extensive testing of Takata’s products have centered on moisture intrusion into the propellant as the cause of the airbag inflator blasts that have killed 12 worldwide and injured 100 or more. The latest deaths, confirmed last week by Honda, occurred in Malaysia last month and this month. The moisture causes the propellant to deteriorate. As it changes, the blast becomes more powerful, fracturing the inflator housing. The housing shards then become shrapnel that scythes through the interior of the vehicle. Airbag inflators that have the stabilizer in its propellant are not covered by the recall.

The NHTSA action comes after earlier recalls of 28.8 million airbag inflators by Takata. Those recalls affected vehicles made by 14 manufacturers including:

With the new recalls of last week, plus the previous ones, the current total of airbags recalled stands at about 70 million. With the Honda report Sunday, the total number of airbags recalled will be nearly 90 million.

According to published reports Sunday, attempts to contact NHTSA and Honda were unsuccessful.

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