Japan automakers add 550,000 cars to Takata air bag recalls

Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:32am EST
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By Chang-Ran Kim and Mari Saito

TOKYO (Reuters) - Three Japanese automakers will recall more than half a million cars globally to replace air bag inflators made by Takata Corp (7312.T: Quote), bringing the total tally of Takata-related recalls across all brands to around 20 million since 2008.

The recalls announced on Thursday by Honda Motor (7267.T: Quote), Nissan Motor (7201.T: Quote) and Mitsubishi Motors (7211.T: Quote) correspond with a similar, precautionary recall by Toyota Motor (7203.T: Quote) last week after a recent "unusual deployment" of a passenger-side air bag at a scrap yard in Japan.

Honda, Takata's biggest customer, said it would recall an estimated 400,000 vehicles globally, including about 177,000 in Japan across 11 models such as the Stream minivan, Fit subcompact and Civic hybrid produced in 2003.

The rest include about 100,000 in Europe and 70,000 in Asia-Pacific, and none in the United States, Honda said.

A spokeswoman said Honda would need to set aside more reserves to pay for the latest recalls, as well as the voluntary expansion to the rest of the world of a region-specific recall that had been limited to certain hot and humid areas in the United States.

She said she could not disclose a specific figure.

Honda has now recalled about 13.4 million vehicles globally for Takata air bag inflators since 2008 - about half of those to investigate what could be the root cause of the defects. U.S. regulators last month ordered Takata to move forward with a nationwide expansion of the regional recall, but Takata has refused, effectively putting the onus for voluntary recalls on the car makers.

Honda said that if the cause is identified and Takata is at fault, it would negotiate a return of some or all of the recall costs from Takata.   Continued...

An airbag logo is seen on a Honda Motor Co's all-new hybrid sedan "Grace", which installed the airbag made by Takata Corp, during its unveiling event in Tokyo December 1, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai