The Takata airbag recall fiasco has been playing out for months, and at last, there's some good news to report. According to Bloomberg, Honda has agreed to a nationwide recall of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata airbags.
The news was revealed this week as Honda -- along with numerous other automakers, staff from Takata, and representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration -- were called to testify before a U.S. Congressional committee. Honda confirmed that it would expand its recall of vehicles equipped with certain Takata airbags, shifting from a regional recall focused on areas with high humidity to one that's nationwide in scope.
It's not entirely clear from news reports whether Honda solely intends to meet NHTSA's demand for a nationwide recall of driver-side airbags (a demand flatly rejected by Takata), or whether Honda plans to be proactive and tackle passenger-side airbags coast-to-coast, too (something NHTSA has deemed unnecessary).
However, two things are certain:
1. Honda's Ben Nakamura confirmed that the recall expansion will affect roughly 3 million additional U.S. vehicles. That would bring the total number of cars affected by Honda's airbag recall to more than 8 million.
2. Takata won't be supplying all the replacement devices. Instead, Bloomberg reports that Autoliv will be filling in. Could this be simply a pragmatic move intended to speed up the recall process, given Takata's limited production capacity? Or does this signal a deeper rift between Takata and its #1 client, Honda?
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Given the confusion surrounding the Takata recall process, we applaud Honda for taking the initiative to replace airbags in all cars, not just those in specific parts of the country. Yes, 3 million consumers will now have to find time to take their vehicles in for repairs, which is never fun. But given the consequences -- consequences that have been fatal for occupants of five Honda vehicles -- the hassle is worth the headache.
Honda hasn't released specifics about the recall expansion yet, but as a refresher, here's a list of vehicles included in Honda's regional recall. It's entirely likely that many of these will be included in the nationwide recall, too:
- 2001 – 2007 Honda Accord
- 2001 – 2005 Honda Civic
- 2002 – 2006 Honda CR-V
- 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
- 2002 – 2004 Honda Odyssey
- 2003 – 2007 Honda Pilot
- 2006 Honda Ridgeline
- 2003 – 2006 Acura MDX
- 2002 – 2003 Acura TL/CL
- 2005 Acura RL