Over the last year, Honda has recalled roughly 444,000 vehicles to repair overpressurized airbag inflators in certain 2001-2002 Honda Accord, 2001 Civic and 2002-2003 Acura TL models. According to the automaker, there has been one death and multiple injuries stemming from the defect, which can send small metal fragments through the airbag and onto the vehicle's occupants.
For whatever reason, the total recall was announced in two separate increments that were eight months apart – and NHTSA wants to know why. Earlier, Honda had said that the problem was traced back to Takata Corp., which supplied the faulty inflators, and that the supplier had made "incorrect assumptions" about the numbers of parts it had sent to Honda. Says Honda spokesman Chris Martin:
Honda denies any wrongdoing and promises to fully cooperate with the NHTSA investigation.The initial range of recalled vehicles was based on a relatively small sample of problematic airbag deployments...It took some further customer reports of airbag deployments for us to be able to look back and say, these vehicles are not in the lot we identified but have the same problem.