LOS ANGELES -- American Honda Motor Co., again expanding a 2008 recall, will replace driver's-side airbag inflators in an additional 378,758 U.S. vehicles from the 2001 and 2002 model years.
The inflators may deploy with too much pressure, rupturing a surrounding casing and sending metal fragments through the airbag cushion material to cause injury or death.
Honda said in a statement that it is aware of 12 incidents related to the issue.
The original recall in late 2008 was for about 4,000 Civics. No new incidents have been reported since an expanded recall in July 2009 that covered about 440,000 vehicles. One fatality, announced along with the second recall, has been reported.
The announcement brings the total American Honda recall to more than 826,000 vehicles.
With it, Honda has added 2001 and 2002 Accord, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V, and selected 2002 Acura TL models to the earlier actions. Some vehicles in Canada are included
Vehicles in other markets are subject to parent Honda Motor Co.'s recall procedures. The global total covered by Tuesday's development is 438,000.
Customers will be notified starting this month.
All the systems were assembled by airbag supplier TK Holdings, a subsidiary of Takata Corp.
Two manufacturing processes were used in making the airbags. Although Honda could verify the quality of one manufacturing process, it could not verify the other, said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president, in a conference call.
He called the problem “a propellant issue.”
$67 per car
A Honda spokesman said the recall would cost the company about 24 million yen ($267,000) in Japan, or about $67 a car. He declined to disclose a global estimate, but based on the per-unit cost in Japan, the global tally would come to about $30 million.
The move follows a separate recall of 646,000 cars less than two weeks ago for a faulty window switch that engulfed a Jazz subcompact in flames in South Africa, killing a child.
The move comes at a time when Honda's bigger rival Toyota Motor Corp. has come under intense scrutiny from U.S. safety regulators. Toyota has launched the biggest recall in its history and faces criticism that it was slow to respond to safety issues.
Honda said it had brought the safety issue to the attention of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and had notified regulators of the decision to include additional vehicles in its recall.
Analysts noted that automakers regularly make recalls, and said media coverage of recent cases had been somewhat overblown.
Said Yoshihiko Tabei, chief analyst at Kazaka Securities in Tokyo: "While the way automakers handle recalls is important, I think people should be careful not to overreact to every single recall."
Reuters contributed to this report.