Honda Widens Record Vehicle Recall Because of Air-Bag Flaws

Honda Motor Co., Japan’s third-largest carmaker, widened its biggest recall to fix flaws related to air bags in models including the Civic and Accord produced as long as a decade ago.

The company expanded the recall to include an additional 917,267 vehicles worldwide, said Keitaro Yamamoto, a spokesman at the Tokyo-based carmaker. That brings the total to more than 2.77 million, the company’s biggest recall for an individual flaw, he said.

The move is a blow to Honda, the only large carmaker to report a sales decline in the U.S. last month, as it seeks to recover from natural disasters in Japan and Thailand this year. Toyota Motor Corp., Asia’s largest carmaker, posted a drop in U.S. sales last year after the recall of millions of vehicles in 2009 undermined its reputation for quality.

“A recall will definitely have a negative impact on Honda,” said Masatoshi Nishimoto, a senior manager for IHS Automotive in Tokyo. “Honda is behind on production due to the impact of the Japanese earthquake and the Thai floods.”

The shares declined 0.2 percent to close at 2,479 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, extending their drop to 23 percent this year.

“Affected driver’s air-bag inflators may deploy with too much pressure, which can cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury or fatality,” the company said in a statement.

More than 90 percent of the affected cars are in the U.S. The models include the 2001 and 2002 Accord, the 2001 to 2003 Civic, the 2001 to 2003 Odyssey, the 2002 and 2003 CR-V, the 2003 Pilot, the 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TL and the 2003 Acura 3.2 CL vehicles, according to the statement.

Honda recalled more than 300,000 Pilot sport-utility vehicles in September for seat-belt stitching that could unravel during a crash.

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