TOKYO -- Honda Motor Co. plans to recall about 668,000 vehicles in Japan to replace airbag inflators supplied by Takata Corp., as part of an expanded nationwide recall announced earlier this year.
Japan's second-largest automaker said today it had recalled models including its Fit subcompact hatchback model, and the Civic and Accord sedan models over passenger-side airbags. Vehicles produced between 2009 and 2011 were affected, it added.
The latest announcement takes Honda's global tally of recalled airbags to about 51 million, around half of the roughly 100 million slated for recall worldwide over inflators which are at risk of exploding with excessive force.
Defective airbags have been linked to at least 14 deaths and 150 injuries worldwide, and are at the center of the auto industry's biggest ever product recall.
Thursday's recall comes after Japan's transport ministry in May ordered automakers to recall an additional 7 million vehicles in Japan equipped with Takata airbag inflators which do not contain a drying agent, in phases by 2019, following an expanded recall by U.S. transport authorities.
Without a drying agent, the ammonium nitrate-based propellant used in Takata inflators has a tendency to explode violently following prolonged exposure to hot, humid conditions, spraying metal shrapnel into vehicle compartments.
Honda, once Takata's largest customer, has said that it would stop using Takata-made inflators in its new models, and has stopped procuring replacement inflators from the company.
Battered by the recalls, Takata is looking for a financial backer to help overhaul its business and carry ballooning costs as its stock price has crumbled almost 90 percent since early 2014 and it faces potentially billions of dollars of liabilities.