Honda discloses fifth Takata air bag-linked fatality, widens recall

Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:17am EST
 
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By Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co (7267.T: Quote) said on Thursday that a driver in Malaysia died in July after being hit by shrapnel from an air bag supplied by Takata Corp (7312.T: Quote) - the fifth such fatality and the first outside the United States.

The Japanese automaker also widened its recall for the defective air bags by another 170,000 vehicles globally, taking its total recalls to nearly 10 million vehicles fitted with potentially defective Takata air bag inflators since 2008, including U.S. region-specific recalls.

Before Thursday's disclosure, Takata air bags had been linked to four deaths in Honda vehicles in the United States. All the victims were hit by shrapnel ejected by the air bag.

Defective Takata air bags are the target of a U.S. safety investigation over the risk they could explode with dangerous force in an accident and shoot metal shards into the vehicle. More than 17 million vehicles made by nearly a dozen different automakers have been recalled globally for flawed Takata air bags since 2008.

In the Malaysia accident on July 27, involving a 2003 Honda City model, the air bag inflator ruptured and sent shrapnel into the vehicle, some of which struck the female driver, Honda said.

Honda did not give the driver's name or age.

Honda learned of the incident on Aug. 27 and notified Japan's transport ministry on Sept. 10.

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A Honda dealership sign is shown at a car lot in Carlsbad, California November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Blake