Honda airbag

In what is looking like a situation that is rapidly spiralling out of control, Honda Motor Co is recalling yet another 4.5 million cars globally to replace airbag inflators made by Takata Corp. Of the 4.5 million, 1.63 million are being recalled in Japan.

According to Reuters, the automaker independently collected about 1,000 Takata-made airbag inflators from Honda cars not covered in previous recalls, and detected a variance in the density of gas-producing chemicals in inflators that may lead to an abnormal deployment, thereby expediting this latest recall.

Honda declined to give a breakdown of where the 4.5 million vehicles are until regulators in affected nations are notified. The recall will span 17 models, including the Fit (Jazz) hatchback, Stream MPV and CR-V SUV. Exact model years affected have yet to be announced.

Takata Corp believes that prolonged exposure to airborne moisture and high temperatures can make he ammonium nitrate explode with too much force, blowing apart a metal canister. The company is trying to assure the public that newer versions of its inflators are designed differently, and are safe and stable.

For this round of recalls, however, Honda will be using replacement airbag inflators from competing suppliers Autoliv and Daicel Corp, not Takata.

So far, at least eight people have been killed and 100 injured worldwide by the inflators, in a problem that has persisted for more than a decade.

Last May, Honda Malaysia recalled 87,182 vehicles over the Takata airbag issue, involving City, Civic, CR-V, Jazz and Stream model.