Honda recalls some 2016 CR-Vs for exploding Takata airbag risk

WASHINGTON (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co. is recalling 2016 models of the popular CR-V crossover because of a new, potentially deadly Takata Corp. airbag defect.

The Honda recall, posted on the company's website late Friday, involves a manufacturing defect in a metal housing surrounding the driver's airbag inflator.

In the event of a crash triggering an airbag deployment, "the inflator could rupture, with metal fragments striking the driver or other occupants, resulting in serious injury or death," Honda said in documents posted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website Saturday.

The recall suggests that Takata hasn't resolved all of its manufacturing quality issues.

The Tokyo-based parts maker has been under investigation by NHTSA and Congress over airbag ruptures involving shrapnel that have killed seven people in the U.S. and one overseas.

Neither the manufacturer, nor the regulator, nor any of the 12 affected automakers have been able to determine a root cause.

The earlier defect sparked the largest-ever U.S. automotive safety recall, which now covers more than 19 million vehicles made by 12 automakers.

A total of 23 million defective inflators need to be replaced, but less than a quarter of the affected cars in the U.S. have been repaired, NHTSA said in an Oct. 22 briefing in Washington.

The new CR-V recall covers 515 vehicles, only 30 of which had been sold. The CR-V is the top-selling SUV/crossover in the U.S.

All remaining unsold vehicles are subject to a stop-sale order until repairs are complete, Honda said. There have been no warranty claims, crashes or injuries reported, it said.

Structural failure

Honda said it has been in touch with both Takata and NHTSA about the defect.

Takata's preliminary investigation suggests a structural failure in the inflator casing due to a potential manufacturing flaw. It was discovered during a test at Takata's factory in Monclova, Mexico, and the company notified NHTSA on Oct. 12.

The possibility that conditions at Takata's factories contributed to the instability of ammonium nitrate used to inflate airbags has been a part of the larger Takata airbag investigation.

Honda recalled 4,205 vehicles in 2008 after finding the devices' propellant took in excessive moisture at the Mexican plant, located in Coahuila state about 170 miles (274 kilometers) from Laredo, Texas.

NHTSA said at its recent briefing that it is no longer focusing on manufacturing flaws as the main cause of the airbag explosions.

On the larger recall, NHTSA has said it's considering whether to use its legal authority to compel manufacturers to speed up recall-related repairs, or get parts to vehicles at most risk more quickly.

It's also possible the recall could expand, the agency said. The regulator is considering appointing independent monitors who will oversee automakers' airbag repairs, communicating directly with the companies on a day-to-day basis.

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