More lawsuits filed against Honda, Takata over air bags

Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:29pm EDT
 
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By Ben Klayman

DETROIT (Reuters) - The recall crisis involving Takata-made air bags exploding with too much force and spraying vehicle occupants with metal shrapnel is growing, with two more lawsuits filed over accidents in older Honda cars.

News of the lawsuits came a day after Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) on Monday recalled 247,000 vehicles in the United States because of potentially defective air bags made by Takata Corp (7312.T: Quote). Also on Monday, U.S. safety regulators urged consumers affected by similar recalls to have their cars' air bags replaced as soon as possible.

That news dragged Takata's shares down 23 percent on Tuesday in Tokyo, the stock's biggest one-day drop ever. The shares have declined 44 percent so far this year.

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee said on Tuesday it was seeking information about Takata's air bag defects from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and automobile manufacturers.

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, where some of the air bag incidents have occurred, wrote to NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman urging the agency to further expand the recalls.

"NHTSA should ensure that owners of cars that are not registered in Florida, but spend a substantial portion of the year operating in the state of Florida are covered by the recall," Nelson wrote.

He was referring to "snowbirds," people who spend winters in Florida to escape the cold in the northern part of the United States.

In his letter to Friedman, Nelson also said automakers with defective air bags should offer loaner cars or rental car reimbursements for consumers unable to get their cars fixed quickly.   Continued...

 
A sign board of Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's Annual General Meeting is seen on a street near the venue in Tokyo June 26, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino