Honda to Expand Recall for Air-Bag Inflation Problems

Honda Motor Co. is adding more than 378,000 cars to an existing safety recall for air bag inflation problems, the company said Tuesday. The company will replace the driver's side air bag inflator on the cars because they can deploy with too much pressure, causing the inflator to rupture and injure or kill the driver.

The recall now affects more than 822,000 vehicles, including certain 2001 and 2002 Accord sedans, Civic compacts, Odyssey minivans, CR-V small sport utility vehicles and some 2002 Acura TL sedans.

Honda said it is aware of 12 incidents linked to the problem, with 11 injuries and one death. The company said it is not aware of any problems happening after July 2009.

"However, we have concluded that we cannot be completely certain that the driver's air bag inflator in the vehicles being added to this recall at this time will perform as designed," Honda said in a statement.

Honda's announcement comes at a time of increased attention on automotive recalls. Though the problems are unrelated, rival Toyota Motor Corp. in the process of recalling more than 8 million cars and trucks due to faulty gas pedals. On Tuesday, Toyota said it would recall more than 440,000 of its flagship 2010 Prius hybrids due to a braking glitch.

"There is a heightened sensitivity right to anything to do with recalls," said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

Honda originally announced the recall to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in November of 2008, involving fewer than 4,000 2001 Accords and Civics, the company said. The recall was expanded in July of 2009 to 440,000 vehicles including the 2001 and 2002 Accord and Civic, as well as certain 2002 Acura TL sedans.

Worldwide, Honda has recalled about 514,000 vehicles globally due to the airbag problem. The company said it would make issue a press release at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Tokyo (9 p.m. Tuesday EST) about how many vehicles are affected worldwide by the latest recall expansion.

Company officials said the airbag produces too much pressure that can cause the inflator to rupture, sending metal fragments toward the driver.

Honda says owners should take their vehicles to dealerships as soon as they are notified by the company in writing. Notification will begin during the month of February.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

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