Washington, D.C. — Jan. 19, 2016 — Of all the automakers that have been affected by the Takata air bag defects and subsequent nationwide recalls, Honda appears to have been hit the hardest.
Across the U.S., 11 fatalities and more than 100 injuries have been attributed to Takata’s defective air bag inflators, according to NBC News. These air bags can inflate with too much force, rupturing a metal canister and launching shrapnel at drivers and occupants. Honda has said that among those incidents, 10 of the deaths occurred in Honda vehicles between 2009 and 2016.
Honda announces additional recalls over air bag defects
This week, Honda announced that it will be recalling additional vehicles as a result of defective Takata air bag launchers – and not a small amount, either. The International Business Times reported that the company will recall 772,000 Honda and Acura vehicles in the U.S.
These will include the following specific models:
- 2005-2006 Acura MDX
- 2005-2012 Acura RL
- 2008-2012 Honda Accord
- 2006-2011 Honda Civic
- 2007-2012 Honda Fit
- 2010-2012 Honda Insight
- 2009-2012 Acura TSX
- 2011-2012 Acura TSX Wagon
- 2010-2012 Acura ZDX
- 2010-2012 Acura ZDX
- 2005-2011 Honda CR-V
- 2005-2011 Honda Element
- 2012 Honda FCX Clarity
- 2005-2012 Honda Pilot
- 2006-2012 Honda Ridgeline
The specific problem in these vehicles appears to be the front passenger seat air bag inflators. Honda said in a press release that a specific number of inflators – known as “Alpha” inflators – have alarmingly high failure rates and will be the focus of the recall.
All told, Reuters reports that Honda has recalled 11.4 million U.S. registered vehicles as a result of this defect.
Ford expands Takata recall
Honda may be the most exposed automaker to the Takata defects, but it isn’t the only company that has boosted its recall numbers of late. This week, Ford announced that it would recall 816,000 vehicles for similar air bag issues.
Of the recalls, about 650,000 were located in the U.S., while the remaining models were located in Canada. All were built in North America. Autoblog reports that the following models will be affected:
- 2005-09 and 2012 Ford Mustang
- 2005-06 Ford GT
- 2006-09 and 2012 Ford Fusion
- 2007-09 Ford Ranger
- 2007-09 Ford Edge
- 2006-09 and 2012 Lincoln Zephyr and Lincoln MKZ
- 2007-09 Lincoln MKX
- 2006-09 Mercury Milan
Ford has not identified any injuries or deaths that occurred in its vehicles as a result of the defects. It has now recalled about 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S., according to Reuters.
Government settlement will move forward
Earlier this month, there were hints that Takata would agree to settle with the U.S. government over the air bag defects. Now, Reuters has reported that this will indeed happen.
The company has made an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department to pay a $1 billion settlement. This will reportedly be split into multiple parts. About $850 million will be directed toward automakers that were forced to conduct massive recalls. Another $125 million will be directed toward victim compensation. Finally, the last $25 million will take the form of a criminal fine.
In addition, Takata will be monitored by an independent third party going forward to ensure the problems that led to the defects are addressed.
Reuters added that Takata may also plead guilty to wire fraud charges, or to providing false test data to U.S. regulators. This is based on information from another settlement in 2015, in which Takata admitted to providing both automakers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with incomplete or inaccurate data for several years.