After having announced two recalls for an airbag defect problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is asking Honda Motor Co. and Takata Corp., its airbag supplier, to explain why the first recall didn't include the vehicles from the second recall. About 444,000 Accord and Civic vehicles are being recalled for potentially lethal airbag defects.
The airbag inflator can rupture from too much internal air pressure, sending metal fragments through the airbag and hitting vehicle occupants. So far, the company has acknowledged one death and multiple injuries from the defect.
The NTHSA is demanding information from Honda and Takata to more fully evaluate the scope and timeliness of Honda's recalls for the same defect, according to NHTSA's Web site. The NTHSA investigation was opened on Monday, Nov. 2.
Meanwhile, Honda denied any wrongdoing and said it would cooperate with NHTSA's probe.
Honda spokesman Chris Martin explained that the initial range of recalled vehicles was based on a relatively small sample of problematic airbag deployments and it took some further customer reports of airbag deployments for the company to be able to determine that they have the same problem. No statement has been given by Takata, which remains to be Honda's airbag supplier.
The first recall, in November 2008, involved 3,940 Accords and Civics from the 2001 model year.
The second recall, in June 2009, involved more vehicles of the same models and year. Honda expanded the second recall in July to include certain 2002 Accords and Acuras. In all, the second recall totaled 440,000 vehicles.