Takata Recalling Another 2.7 Million Faulty Airbags

Posted July 12, 2017

Honda Motor Co (7267.T) said Monday it had confirmed an 11th US death involving one of its vehicles tied to a faulty Takata air bag inflator.

The unnamed person was conducting repairs inside a 2001 Honda Accord on June 18, 2016, in Hialeah when the driver-side airbag deployed. Ramon V. Kuffo, 88, who did not own the vehicle but had taken apart the center console with the ignition switch on, died of head trauma a day after a neighbor found him bleeding from the face in the passenger seat of the auto parked in his yard near Miami, Fla., reports the Detroit News.

Honda says the individual died the following day from his injuries, though it's not obvious if the shrapnel resulting from the ruptured inflator was the cause of death or if the "interaction of the hammer with the deploying airbag" was the culprit.

The company did not release the name of the man out of respect for his family, but confirmed that he was not the car's owner and he was working on the vehicle at a private residence.

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It's the 12th US death from the faulty inflators and 17th worldwide.

The recall, which comes in addition to the 42 million inflators Takata previously recalled, covers airbag inflators made from 2005 to 2012 and used in certain Nissan, Mazda, and Ford vehicles.

The problem touched off the largest automotive recall in USA history involving up to 69 million inflators and 42 million vehicles.

In January, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges related to its handling of the air bag defects and agreed to pay a US$1 billion (S$1.39 billion) fine.

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However, after analyzing the inflators involved in the latest recall, Takata said some showed "a pattern of propellant density reduction over time that is understood to predict a future risk of inflator rupture".

Multiple owners of the vehicle were mailed 12 recall notices over seven years. Honda says it has sufficient supplies of replacement inflators available to fix all of its recalled vehicles.

According to Honda, Alpha inflators can have as high as a 50-50 chance of exploding and injuring an occupant.

Honda says its "records indicate that the recall fix was never completed on this vehicle".

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Records did indicate that the Honda in question hadn't received service for the inflator recall, despite numerous notifications. USA supplier Key Safety Systems is set to purchase almost all of the company's global assets for $1.59 billion, which is still far short of what the company will ultimately face when all is said and done.