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Honda confirms third-party source for majority of Takata airbag recall fixes

Of the 650,379 Hondas originally called back over Takata airbag inflators, just 2811 require a follow-up recall – for now.

Honda Australia has moved to quell customer concerns regarding its ongoing Takata airbag inflator recalls, with confirmation that all-new replacement parts are now being sourced from a different third-party supplier.

However, about 42,000 Honda vehicles – built between 2001 and 2013 – had their original Takata airbag inflators replaced locally with like-for-like parts, which themselves may require replacement in the coming years.

The Australian arm of the Japanese carmaker has not received word yet from its head office to start the secondary recall on this batch of vehicles, but says it will immediately comply with orders made by international authorities.

Speaking to journalists in Canberra this week, Honda Australia director Stephen Collins said none of the brand’s current models have Takata-sourced airbag inflators.

Rather, both new vehicle and replacement airbag inflators are manufactured by Daicel, a Japanese rival to Takata that is part-owned by Toyota.

As previously reported, 2811 local Honda vehicles, which were fitted with replacement Takata airbag inflators, have been subject to a follow-up recall.

In total, Honda originally recalled 650,379 airbag inflators with more than 450,000 repaired since the safety notice was first issued. There are fewer than 194,000 units still requiring a repair.

Nevertheless, the company says it is a step ahead of its competitors when it comes to this issue.

“Over the past eight years, less than one per cent of the (airbag inflator) completions we have done have been subject to a second recall,” Mr Collins said.

“So that’s about 2800 vehicles, and we’ve acted on that immediately upon receiving that information, in terms of informing the authorities and our customers.

“If you’re asking like-for-like, in total there is 42,000 (Takata-supplied airbag inflator) replacements … but we have no notification at this point of time that they have to be replaced again. If we are notified, we will immediately go through the authorities and immediately contact our customers.

“We perform our recalls through our parent company, and … we went through all the authorities to replace those (42,000).

“Whether it’s a stopgap measure or not, time will tell. But we have not been informed outside of the 2800 of any further recalls on those cars. If we are informed, of course we will go through the correct and speedy process of another recall on those cars.”

Mr Collins said owners of those 42,000 Honda vehicles fitted with replacement Takata airbag inflators can contact their preferred dealership to discuss whether they can obtain a Daicel part instead, but ‘non-fixed’ units continue to be the priority.

“We will work with each customer one-on-one,” he said. “And, if that situation arises, we will work with that customer to work that situation out.”

Furthermore, Mr Collins confessed tracking down owners of older vehicles sold outside of the Honda dealer network has proved to be a challenging issue.

“We’re working to track people down,” he said. “Where it’s the second, third or fourth owner, it becomes more difficult, and, generally speaking, the remaining are older cars and older customers … and in our experience we have tried many different things.

“There are instances where we’ve sent five or six letters to the same customer.”

Nevertheless, the company says it is a step ahead of its competitors when it comes to this issue.

“Honda’s completion rate, in terms of total vehicles repaired, is more than double all of the other manufacturers combined,” a spokesman revealed.

The free-of-charge repair takes between 30 and 50 minutes, and can require more than one airbag inflator being replaced within each vehicle.

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