Honda Recalls 175,000 Fit, Vezel Hybrids for Control Flaw

Honda Motor Co. is recalling all the Fit and Vezel hybrid cars it has sold in Japan since last year over a software flaw causing unintended acceleration.

The recall -- the fourth for new models of the best-selling Fit and the second for Vezel -- will cover 175,000 vehicles, the Tokyo-based carmaker said in a statement today. The carmaker received 11 reports of accidents from December to April related to the engine-control program, with no injuries or deaths, said Akemi Ando, a spokeswoman for the company.

Honda is counting on the models to boost global deliveries to 4.5 million units this year and to help increase profit by 4 percent. The carmaker targeted a worldwide gain in compact-car sales -- including the Fit, Vezel and City -- to more than 1.6 million vehicles by the end of 2016, making up about a quarter of its global deliveries.

The previous Fit and Vezel recalls related to separate defects in a new seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission system.

Honda has dropped 17 percent in Tokyo trading this year, the worst performance among Japanese automakers and compared with a 3.3 percent decline in the broader Topix index. The carmaker’s shares fell 0.6 percent to 3,573 yen at the close in Tokyo trading.

The carmaker will rewrite the computer program to fix the engine-control defect, Ando said. The recalls haven’t affected sales, she said.

Fit outsold all cars in Japan this year except Toyota Motor Corp.’s Aqua hybrid, according to the Japan Automobile Dealers Association.

Fit deliveries rose 69 percent to 121,764 units in the first six months, with about two-thirds of them being hybrids.

Honda began shipping the new Fit to U.S. dealerships from a newly built plant in Mexico in June. The conventional version of the car had been scheduled to begin sales in mid-April, according to the magazine Consumer Reports.

Sales of the hybrid versions of the Fit and Vezel haven’t started outside Japan.

(Updates with closing share price in fifth paragraph)
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