Honda accelerates next phase of Takata recall

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Honda Motor Co. said Friday that the next round of recalls for Takata passenger airbag inflators will begin a few months earlier than planned, because it has sufficient replacement parts in stock and has so far experienced high repair rates.

The planned recall includes approximately 1 million Honda- and Acura vehicles in the United States with inflators that use a propellant of ammonium nitrate that has no chemical additive to prevent moisture absorption. In 2016, NHTSA ordered the phased recall of up to 40 million more Takata inflators after it was determined that moisture and high temperatures can affect the propellant, allowing it to explode with too much force when an airbag is deployed and metal shards from the container into the vehicle will be shipped part.

To date, 23 people worldwide have been killed by the faulty inflators, with at least 180 injured, most in the US. The recall relates to all major car manufacturers, but Honda has the most vehicles on the road with the faulty component.

Honda's US sales and service arm, the US Honda Motor Co., monitors recall and has completed repairs to 78 percent of vehicles. The completion rate of Toyota Motor Corp. – 66 percent – is the second highest, according to NHTSA data.

Approximately 37 million vehicles with 50 million defective Takata airbags are exchanged. Additional airbags are scheduled to be recalled in December 2019, bringing the total number of affected airbags between 65 and 70 million.

The next round of recall campaigns for all car manufacturers is scheduled for December, with NHTSA likely to announce the effective date in January.

Honda said it speeds up the speed of the recall because it has the parts inventory and a high completion rate. Other car manufacturers were slower in entering into contracts with alternative suppliers of inflators and therefore did not have enough stock to meet the repair demand.

Honda has also been aggressive in trying to make contact with Honda and Acura owners to take their vehicles to a dealer for repairs, even to the extent that they pay home visits with a towing and repair service.

The Japanese car manufacturer said it will start sending notifications for the next phase of recall operations at the end of November.

With the recall, about 12.9 million Honda- and Acura vehicles have been recalled or are now being recalled.