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More glitches deflate Honda

Japanese carmaker Honda has recalled 437,763 vehicles worldwide, mostly in North America, to fix defective airbags.

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“Honda has decided to expand a recall related to a defect in the driver’s SRS airbag installed on certain vehicles produced in 2001 and 2002 and has issued a notification in North America and Japan,” Honda said in a statement.

“This recall also will be conducted in other affected regions and countries,” it added. “The total number of vehicles subject to this expanded recall is 437,763 units worldwide.”

“We have concluded that we cannot be completely certain that the driver’s airbag inflator in the vehicles being added to the recall at this time will perform as designed,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

Honda said airbag inflators in affected vehicles “could produce excessive internal pressure which may cause the airbag inflator casing to rupture, resulting in metal fragments passing through the airbag cushion material and possibly causing injury or fatality to vehicle occupants”.

The statement said the company was aware of twelve incidents in total involving the defect and one fatality.

The expansion is the third the company has made over the airbag problem, bringing the total number of cars affected to more than 900,000, including Accords and Civics.

A Honda spokeswoman in Tokyo said the company was also recalling “a small number of vehicles” elsewhere in the world,” and that the company would announce the global figure on Wednesday.

“It’s primarily a North America recall,” Honda US spokesman Chris Martin told AFP.

An initial recall announced in November 2008 affected just under 4,000 2001 Accords and Civics in the United States and just 218 cars in Canada.

After two more incidents involving cars not included in the original recall were reported, the company expanded the recall in July 2009 to include an additional 440,000 model-year 2001 and 2002 Accord, Civic and certain 2002 Acura TL vehicles. It also recalled an additional 49,452 vehicles in Canada.

Last month Honda announced a global recall of some 646,000 units of its Fit/Jazz and City cars due to defective parts of their window switch.