"I understand that if this used car I'm buying is in a crash, the airbag could kill me."
That's the gist of a document that American Honda Motor Co. wants its dealers to require buyers of certain 2001-11 used Honda and Acura vehicles to sign.
The unusual document comes in addition to Honda's suggesting a stop-sale order on the vehicles unless there is an acknowledgement that the vehicles are subject to a recall related to defective front airbag inflators, a Honda spokesman confirmed. A stop-sale order is not legally enforceable on used vehicles, as it is with new vehicles.
Honda's Airbag Inflator Recall Disclosure and Acknowledgment document, acquired by Automotive News, acknowledges that occupants could be "injured or killed" if the front airbags deploy.
One Honda dealer who did not want to be named is concerned that Honda is "kicking the problem down to the dealer level," by asking dealers to get the document signed.
But Laurie McCants, managing partner of Honda of Covington in suburban New Orleans, says she believes the signed document helps protect dealers. "If there is a process and we follow the process, I don't feel liable," she says.
Neither does Joe Wagner, operating partner of Winter Haven Honda in Florida. He says he is getting no pushback from consumers about signing the document.
"I believe it takes away the liability,'' he said about the document. "You can never overdisclose."
Honda is among at least seven automakers, including Toyota, BMW, Mazda and Mitsubishi, recalling older model vehicles with potentially defective airbag inflators made by Japanese airbag supplier Takata Corp.
The airbag recall has focused on high-humidity areas such as Florida and Puerto Rico, but some manufacturers have expanded the action to other areas.
For example, Honda's recall of an estimated 3 million vehicles also covers affected vehicles sold or later registered in Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Honda knows which airbags went into which vehicles but the recall repair list is not final, making it necessary to treat all vehicles in the model and model year range as potentially affected.