Honda America and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced over the weekend that they will be recalling approximately 515 of the top-selling 2016 Honda CR-V crossover SUVs. This is not an extreme amount of vehicles to be involved in any particular recall campaign but the reason for the recall is worthy of note. It seems that the Takata Airbag Corporation continues to have problems manufacturing safety equipment that is less than treacherous for consumers.
Initially, Takata announced that their defective airbags were not produced after 2008. Now we see Honda recalling 2016 model vehicles. Although only 30 of the affected 2016 Honda CR-V vehicles have actually been sold thus far, Takata continues to experience issues repairing the wave of millions of vehicles recalled from earlier model years. It has been reported that 23-million vehicles equipped with the deadly Takata airbags still need to be repaired, including a large number of vehicles right here in the U.S. the remaining 2016 Honda CR-Vs are under a stop sale order until the repairs are completed. Honda says that there have been no warranty claims, motor vehicle crashes, or injuries from the latest wave of airbag related recalls.
It was first stated that the defective Takata airbags were equipped with faulty pressure regulators, then a leak from within the huge manufacturer said that the issue was with the propellant with which the airbags were equipped. This latest round of Takata related shortcomings concerns a manufacturing defect in the metal housing which surrounds the driver’s side airbag inflator. Honda indicated in documents posted on the NHTSA website that in the event of a crash triggering airbag deployment, the airbag inflator could rupture causing metal fragments to be propelled throughout the passenger compartment. The shrapnel could cause passenger injury or even death. Does this verbiage sound familiar? It sounds strangely like the descriptions from the recall notifications for the 34-million older vehicles that make up the largest recall campaign in U.S. history. The NHTSA has stated that it is possible that they will wield their considerable legal clout and demand that automakers speed up the repair process, potentially focusing on the most at risk automobiles first. It is also possible that the recall may expand yet again. The NHTSA is even pondering the appointment of independent monitors who would oversee repairs by the largest automakers and communicate directly with their executives on a daily basis.
Takata, a Tokyo based parts maker, has been under investigation by the NHTSA and the U.S. Congress over airbag ruptures that have produced shrapnel which has been related to seven deaths in the U.S. and one abroad. While there has been a load of speculation as to the cause of the airbag defects, at this time, neither Takata, the NHTSA, nor any of the 12 affected automakers have been able to nail down a reason for the airbag failures. That brings us to the question, “Has the problem really been rectified?” It would seem that there are still issues remaining.