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Honda faces global recall over airbags

Honda’s troubles are deepening as it was forced to extend its global recall for faulty airbags by 437,000 cars yesterday.

The second-biggest Japanese carmaker will replace the driver’s side airbag inflator on the cars because they can deploy with too much pressure, causing the inflator to rupture and injure or kill the driver.

The recall started 15 months ago and the total number of cars recalled is approaching 1m.

The latest expansion of the airbag recall includes 378,000 cars in the US, 41,000 cars in Canada and 17,000 cars in Japan, Australia and elsewhere in Asia.

Honda’s announcement comes as rival Toyota is in the process of recalling more than 8m cars and trucks due to faulty pedals.

Toyota said this week it would also recall more than 440,000 of its flagship 2010 Prius and other hybrids due to a braking problem. It was caused by a software glitch which has now been fixed.

“There is a heightened sensitivity right now to anything to do with recalls,” said John Mendel, executive vice president of sales for American Honda.

In the US, the Honda recall affects certain 2001 and 2002 Accord sedans, Civic compacts, Odyssey minivans, CR-V small sport utility vehicles and some 2002 Acura TL sedans.

In Japan, the recall covers three models, including the 2001 sedan Inspire. Honda said it is aware of 12 incidents linked to the problem – one death in May 2009 and 11 injuries.

But the company added it was not aware of any problems happening after July 2009.