Takata ordered documents in air bag recall destroyed, report says

Takata ordered its technicians to destroy results of tests on some of its air bags after finding cracks in air bag inflators, the New York Times said on Friday. More than 17 million cars by 10 manufacturers, including Honda and Toyota,  have been recalled worldwide over Takata air bags.

Honda/AP
This photo released by Honda shows the interior of a 2004 Honda Accord. This model is among those being recalled for repair of faulty air bag inflators.

Honda is adding hundreds of thousands of vehicles to a previously announced recall for passenger air bags that can explode with too much force and send shards of metal into the passenger compartment.

The vehicles have air bag systems made by troubled parts supplier Takata Corp. and include older versions of the company's three most popular models, the Accord, Civic and CR-V.

Honda said "it is not aware of any claimed injuries or fatalities that have been confirmed" related to the issue. More than 17 million cars by 10 manufacturers have been recalled worldwide over Takata air bags, which can rupture and send metal shards into the passenger compartment.

The action, upgrading Honda's "safety campaign" to a formal recall, comes a day after U.S. safety regulators, for the second time this week, ordered Honda to provide information under oath about its air bags.

Honda's latest move affects some cars from three previous recalls, including nearly 1 million cars in June and 560,000 cars in April 2013. Honda did not provide a precise total. U.S. dealers will replace the passenger-side air bag inflator, the company said.

At least four deaths, all involving Honda cars, and more than a dozen injuries have been linked to the defect.

Honda is Takata's biggest customer, and the two companies have deep historic ties. Both companies say they are cooperating with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in its investigations.

Honda has recalled nearly 7.6 million cars in the United States since 2008 because of the defective inflators and more than 9.5 million cars globally. Total U.S. recalls over air bags are more than 11 million.

Takata ordered its technicians to destroy results of tests on some of its air bags after finding cracks in air bag inflators, the New York Times said on Friday.

Models in Honda's latest recall include the 2003-05 Honda Accord, 2001-05 Civic, 2002-05 CR-V, 2003-04 Element, 2002-04 Odyssey, 2003-05 Pilot, 2006 Ridgeline, 2003-05 Acura MDX and 2005 Acura RL.

Honda Motor Co. already was repairing the vehicles under a safety improvement campaign. The expanded recall announced Thursday night brings the vehicles under supervision of US safety regulators. Owners will get new recall notices by mail.

Honda says a precise number of vehicles being added isn't available. Honda has recalled about 5 million vehicles in the US for Takata air bag problems.

The expansion comes just a few days after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration demanded information in an investigation from Honda about its air bag recalls. The agency is looking into whether Honda failed to report information as required by law.

The newly recalled vehicles were sold or registered in 13 high-humidity states and territories. Humidity can cause the air bag propellant to burn too fast and potentially blow apart metal canisters. The problem has been linked to four deaths.

The recall covers the 2003 to 2005 Accord, 2001-2005 Civic, 2002-2005 CR-V, 2003-2004 Element, 2002-2004 Odyssey, 2003-2005 Pilot and the 2006 Ridgeline. Also included are the 2003-2005 Acura MDX and the 2005 Acura RL.

Affected states and territories include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa.

The Honda recalls are among nearly 8 million others made by 10 automakers, mainly in southern high humidity states, over the Takata air bags.

Honda said it decided to expand the recall after consulting with Takata and NHTSA as they investigate why airborne moisture can cause the air bags to malfunction.

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