TOKYO (Bloomberg) -- Honda Motor Co., the automaker worst affected by the global safety crisis involving defective airbags, said it had used inflators made by a second company under investigation in the U.S. for suspected flaws.
Honda installed inflators made by ARC Automotive Inc. in an undetermined number of vehicles produced around 2000 to 2001, spokesman Teruhiko Tatebe said in a response to a query. The automaker, which has recalled vehicles globally to fix airbags made by Takata Corp., is checking the number of vehicles with the ARC Automotive products and whether there’s a need to recall them.
“This shows the difficulty of making safe inflators,” said Takeshi Miyao, an analyst at researcher Carnorama in Tokyo. “The authorities and the industry have also become more sensitive about the matter of airbag safety due to the Takata issue.”
Inflators made by ARC Automotive, which supplied parts to minivans made by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and a Kia Motors Corp. sedan, were involved in two incidents reported to regulators that merit further investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday in documents posted on its website.
ARC Automotive, a closely held maker of airbag inflators based in Knoxville, Tenn., has said it was notified about the defect investigation and is cooperating.
Honda has recalled more than 20 million vehicles globally to fix airbags made by Tokyo-based Takata. Eight people have been killed in Honda cars due to the flaws in Takata’s airbags, which can rupture during deployment and propel shards at vehicle occupants.