U.S. opens probe into Honda reporting of Takata air bag failures

Tue Nov 4, 2014 2:26am EST
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By Eric Beech and Patrick Rucker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Monday it will examine whether Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T: Quote) failed to report deaths or injuries involving air bags that are now part of a sweeping federal review.

Regulators gave Honda three weeks to answer detailed questions about how it sought and logged accident reports for more than a decade. Monday's order, which includes 34 points, must be answered under oath.

"Honda and the other automakers are legally obligated to report this information to us and failure to do so will not be tolerated," NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman said in a statement.

U.S. law requires that automakers submit to the NHTSA on a quarterly basis so-called Early Warning Reporting data on every incident where they have received information about a death or injury involving their vehicles that might have been caused by a defect.

In a statement, the NHTSA said that it was particularly eyeing air bag malfunctions.

"NHTSA has received information indicating that [Honda] failed to report incidents involving Takata air bags," the agency said in a statement.

"NHTSA is also concerned that Honda's reporting failures go beyond the Takata incidents."

On Monday evening, Honda said that it had contracted a third-party audit of potential inaccuracies "and will soon share our findings" with NHTSA.   Continued...

A pedestrian walks past a logo of Honda Motor Co outside the company's dealership in Tokyo October 28, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino