Honda says defective Takata air bags in 2002 used different design

Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:44pm EST
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By Paul Lienert

DETROIT (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co said it was aware of a ruptured Takata air bag inflator in a car that was covered by a 2002 recall but the inflator design was different from one that ruptured in a 2004 accident.

The 2004 accident, which was not publicly disclosed until 2009, had previously been the first disclosed instance of a ruptured Takata inflator in a Honda car.

A Honda spokesman on Thursday said the 2002 recall "is unrelated to all later ruptures" and "involves a prior generation of air bag inflators than the ones that are the subject of subsequent recalls."

The air bags in both Honda cars were supplied by Japan's Takata Corp, which made the air bags installed in more than 10 million cars from Honda and other manufacturers that have been recalled since 2008.

A Takata spokesman on Thursday confirmed that the ruptured inflator involved in the 2002 Honda recall was of a different design that the ones involved in later recalls that began in 2008.

Inflators in the later-model Takata air bags have been susceptible to rupture, especially when exposed to moisture, and can spray hot metal fragments into vehicle occupants. The defective air bags and inflators have been linked to at least five deaths, all in Honda cars.

U.S. government safety records showed that Honda recalled a small number of cars equipped with Takata air bags in March 2002, two years before the first known injury that Honda and Takata have linked to a defective inflator, Reuters revealed on Wednesday.

In its official recall notice in 2002, Honda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that inflators in passenger air bags in the 2000 Honda Accord and 2000 Acura TL could rupture because of improper welds.   Continued...

A billboard advertisement of Takata Corp is pictured in Tokyo September 17, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai