Honda Expands Airbag Recall

Honda Motor Company recently expanded its international recall for faulty air bags, said the Chicago Tribune. The Honda recall followed Toyota’s highly publicized multiple vehicle recalls over faulty brakes and related accidents and fatalities.

Honda increasing its recall, said the Chicago Tribune, is likely indicating a shift in how automakers are handling safety issues. In light of the massive Toyota debacle, Honda has issued a recall of 437,000, which brings its total recalls over the past 15 months to close to one million vehicles, explained the Chicago Tribune.

The largest issue regarding the Toyota scandal is the auto giant’s perceived betrayal of its customers by not letting its huge customer base know about safety issues for years.

Toyota’s reputation for quality has taken a big hit in recent weeks, thanks to several recalls issued by the automaker. On January 21, Toyota recalled 2.3 million vehicles due to accelerator pedals on those vehicles becoming stuck in a depressed position, causing unexpected and unsafe acceleration. Just a few months prior, in September 2009, Toyota announced it was recalling and replacing floor mats on approximately 4.2 million vehicles which were allegedly causing accelerator pedals in the vehicles to become stuck in the depressed position, leading to uncontrollable and rapid vehicle acceleration.

Toyota also recently recalled 400,000 hybrid vehicles, including the 2010 Prius and the Lexus HS250h, over faulty brakes. The hybrid recall followed the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) announcement that it had opened an investigation into the 2010 Prius relating to reports of momentary loss of braking capability while traveling over an uneven road surface, pothole, or bump. The NHTSA said it had received 124 reports from consumers, including four reports alleging that crashes occurred.

Recent estimates, say the Chicago Tribune, place Toyota recalls at a whopping eight million vehicles. The ongoing fiasco has leaders in Japan’s corporate sectors scrambling to avoid similar mistakes. “No one wants to be Akio Toyoda,” said Kurt Sanger, an analyst at Deutsche Securities of the beleaguered automaker’s CEO, quoted the Chicago Tribune. “You’re seeing the downside of not doing it,” added Sanger, discussing Toyota’s recalls. Automakers are “obviously going to be motivated to be more aggressive on these things,” reported the Chicago Tribune.

Discussing the Toyota mess, Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga of Nissan Motor Company said, “With this crisis, if you will, as a catalyst, we want to further accelerate those efforts, and we want to exert even greater caution,” reported the Chicago Tribune.

Meanwhile, in the U.S. a multi-state group of 22 legal firms is seeking a national class-action suit and has a hearing in U.S. District Court in San Diego on March 25, said the Chicago Tribune. At that time, a judiciary panel will decide on the class-action status of the 16-state group against Toyota.

Toyota group vice president, Bob Carter, said dealers are conducting repairs at a rate of approximately 50,000 vehicles daily, said the Chicago Tribune. Also, a Kelley Blue Book survey confirms that Toyota’s problems have negatively impacted interest in Toyota vehicles, have decreased resale prices, and have resulted in a decrease in potential Toyota vehicle buyers.

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