TOKYO -- The death toll linked to defective Takata airbags grew to five today with Honda Motor Co. disclosing the first fatality outside the United States and calling back more cars.
The July 27 accident claimed the life of woman in Malaysia driving a 2003 Honda City compact sedan, Honda said.
Honda learned of the incident on Aug. 27 and notified Japan's transport ministry on Sept. 10. Honda also said the victim was pregnant at the time of the accident.
“The driver crushed her vehicle into another vehicle, and the driver’s SRS air-bag was deployed abnormally and the inflator case was broken,” Honda spokesman Jordhatt Johan said, declining to provide the name and other details of the victim. “She was pregnant and the fetus also died.”
The Japanese automaker, as a result of the accident, called back 170,699 vehicles worldwide. Nameplates include the Fit, City and Civic.
None of the affected vehicles is in North America.
The action targets 30,772 vehicles in Europe, 21,917 in China and 70,797 in Japan, and cars in other markets such as Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Australia and New Zealand.
The defective airbag inflators, made by Takata Corp., were traced to a Takata plant in LaGrange, Ga., which closed in 2007.
That plant had 10 lines, at least one of which produced inflators called back in earlier actions. The latest recall targets inflators made on a line that had not previously been affected by recalls, Takata spokeswoman Akiko Watanabe said.
Honda is calling back cars with inflators from that line -- those inflators were used in vehicles sold outside North America.
Takata could not comment on whether the same line made inflators delivered to other automakers, Watanabe said.
So far, the global Takata airbag recall has affected inflators made at three North American plants, in LaGrange; Moses Lake, Wash.; and Monclova, Mexico. The earlier recalls from LaGrange affected inflators made on different lines, Watanabe said.
The latest death brings to five the number of fatalities linked to faulty airbags. Honda said it has confirmed three being directly caused by the defective safety devices. It is still investigating the exact cause of the other two deaths, Honda spokeswoman Yuka Abe said.
The four previous deaths occurred in North America.
Honda, by far the automaker most affected by the Takata airbag defects, has called back more than 6 million vehicles.
Including other automakers, more than 17 million vehicles have been recalled globally for flawed Takata airbags since 2008, including some 11 million in the United States.
The airbags remain the focus of a U.S. safety investigation over the risk they could explode with dangerous force in an accident and shoot metal shards into the vehicle.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report