After recalling about 7.6 million U.S. vehicles over potentially life-threatening Takata airbag inflators, Honda will replace airbags, as appropriate, for concerned customers who were not subject to the recall.
In a document on Honda’s owners website, dated Oct. 28 and revised Nov. 6, the automaker said there is no safety concern for Honda models outside the humid regions where vehicles were recalled.
But for certain Honda and Acura vehicles nationwide, “customer service will make arrangements for, as appropriate, the replacement of airbag inflators and the provision of or reimbursement for temporary alternative transportation” at customers’ requests.
The company’s willingness to make those arrangements has been known publicly since at least Nov. 3, as reported by Automotive News that day, but the expanding Takata airbag crisis has magnified the scrutiny of Honda and other automakers. A U.S. Senate committee is holding a hearing on the crisis Thursday. Executives from Honda, Chrysler and Takata are expected to testify, along with David Friedman, deputy administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Honda spokesman Chris Martin told The Detroit News on Monday that Honda is “doing this not because these vehicles have been secretly included” in the recall, but if a customer who owns a vehicle outside the recall is worried, Honda is offering the replacement of airbag inflators, as appropriate.
Martin told The Detroit News that Honda has replaced some airbag inflators outside the recall, but he didn’t know how many.
Honda said earlier this month it was working to buy parts for the remaining vehicles.
“This condition is changing on a daily basis as parts are in production, and we continue to receive additional replacement part supplies as they become available,” the automaker said in a statement to Automotive News earlier this month.
Martin told Automotive News today that the replacement option does not mean an expanded recall or investigation.
“It is a part of our ongoing efforts to work with our customers individually to resolve their concerns, even if their vehicle is not technically part of one of those actions,” he said.
In a NHTSA document dated Nov. 6, Honda said it is still investigating the number of affected vehicles. Honda’s recall has been limited to these humid regions: Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Saipan and American Samoa. All vehicles in the recall previously were included in a safety improvement campaign or a prior passenger airbag inflator recall, the document said.
Affected models are the 2003-05 Honda Accord, Civic, CR-V, Element and Pilot; the 2003-04 Honda Odyssey; the 2003-05 Acura MDX; and the 2005 Acura RL.
If Honda cannot supply enough replacement parts, customers may receive free rental cars and “the provision of or reimbursement for temporary alternative transportation,” the document said.
Honda will not disconnect any airbags, but dealers must check affected Honda vehicles before selling a used Honda or Acura to a customer, the document said.
More than 17 million vehicles globally and 11 million nationally have been recalled for faulty Takata airbags since 2008.
You can reach Hannah Lutz at email@example.com.