According to Bloomberg, CAS claims Honda failed to report fatalities in 2009 and 2013, a point Honda doesn't seem to contest, indicating that it didn't report so-called "verbal claims."
"It is our understanding that some manufacturers choose to include these types of verbal claims, and that these constitute the majority of the injury-and-death claims that they report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," the company told Bloomberg via email. "We believe this practice accounts for the vast majority of the difference between the total number of injury-and-death claims reported by Honda compared to certain other manufacturers."
The CAS, meanwhile, argues that this failure to report deaths and injuries skews the company's quarterly Early Warning Reports, which are used by NHTSA to find trends that could indicate a potential safety issue.
"The whole purpose is to get to major defects quicker," Ditlow told Bloomberg. "You can't protect the public if a company doesn't turn over EWR reports."
While NHTSA confirmed to Bloomberg that it's in touch with Honda, analysts are raising concerns over the potential damage to the company's reputation.
"The damage to their reputation could be very big," Tokyo-based auto analyst Seiji Sugiura told Bloomberg, adding that the company "should take responsible action, especially in the U.S., because it's their most important market."