Honda adds 4.89 million vehicles to recall over exploding airbag fears

Honda adds 4.89 million vehicles to recall over exploding airbag fears
Visitors check out Honda S660 sports car at the showroom in its headquarters in Tokyo on April 28, 2015. Honda said that its fiscal-year net profit fell 8.9 per cent to US$4.4 billion as Japan's number three automaker grapples with soaring recall costs, including from an exploding airbag crisis linked to at least five deaths.

TOKYO - Honda on Thursday said it is recalling 4.89 million vehicles over fears about airbag inflators that could explode, widening a global auto parts crisis linked to several deaths.

Japan's number three automaker announced the recall just a day after Toyota and Nissan said they were calling back a combined 6.5 million vehicles over fears about airbags made by embattled supplier Takata.

The latest moves bring the number of vehicles recalled just by Japan's biggest automakers to 30 million, with their overseas rivals including General Motors also affected by the snowballing scandal.

Honda, which is Takata's biggest airbag customer, has seen its bottom line take a hit owing to soaring recall-related costs with the Civic sedan maker now having recalled over 19 million vehicles globally.

As many six deaths have been linked to Takata's airbag defect, but Honda said there were no accidents stemming from its latest recall.

"There were no injuries or deaths in relation to the recalls this time -- they're meant to prevent accidents before they happen," a Tokyo-based Honda spokeswoman said.

Honda's recall affects more than 20 vehicle models manufactured between 2002 and 2008, including 1.72 million sold in Japan. None were sold in the US market, it added.

Global automakers have been scrambling to fix vehicles equipped with Takata-made airbags that could improperly inflate and rupture, potentially firing deadly shrapnel at the occupants.

The death of one victim in the United States was initially investigated as a murder due to her grisly injuries.

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