Honda Motor Co. has announced that it will be expanding a regional recall of vehicles equipped with Takata brand driver-side air bags to cover all such automobiles across the U.S. The auto giant made the announcement Wednesday morning amid growing concerns by drivers and at the request of the U.S. government, the Detroit News reported.
Honda’s decision to extend the recall beyond Takata driver-side air bags comes amid a tumultuous time for the company, which may face a record $35 million fine over its failure to report more than 1,700 injury and death claims tied to its vehicles to American authorities, Bloomberg Businessweek reported last month.
Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) extended a regional recall of millions of Honda, BMW AG, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Co. cars with the potentially faulty air bags to cover the entire U.S., Reuters reported. Honda -- which manufactured most of the vehicles included in that group – is the first to act on the request.
“Why are we doing this? Because our customers have concerns and we want to address them,” Rick Schostek, an executive vice president at Honda North America, told a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Wednesday morning during a hearing on the recall of nearly 8 million vehicles equipped with the air bags, according to the Detroit News.
Meanwhile, Takata refused overnight to extend a recall of the air bags, a fact that may leave it facing U.S. government fines of up to $7,000 per violation per day, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. The decision is already earning the company harsh criticism, including from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican who said Wednesday she was “very disappointed” with Takata’s failure to extend the recall.
The NHTSA has said that the Takata air bags covered under the recall contain inflators that have shot metal pieces into drivers, injuring at least four people and injuring 30 more in Honda vehicles.