It's official: Honda Australia has assured owners that it is replacing potentially fatal airbag detonators with upgraded parts.
Two weeks after a Sydney man died when an airbag in his earlier-generation CR-V ruptured during an accident, Honda Australia Director Stephen Collins ensured the Japanese car maker is replacing faulty parts with the latest inflators.
While he was adamant the new parts contain a desiccant, designed to absorb moisture and prevent degradation, he also confirmed they are no longer produced by the Takata company. Collins could not offer a solid guarantee they would not need to be replaced again in the future.
According to Collins, Honda is ahead of other brands involved in the recall, which totals more than 2.3 million cars in Australia alone, and has repaired more than 70% of the 650,379 Honda vehicles affected there so far.
His company has sent out more than a million pieces of communication to known vehicle owners and has set up a dedicated customer hotline with 25 staff capable of speaking a whopping 160 languages to help solve the problem quickly.
"We have a job to do," he said, cautioning Honda vehicles on the road that are yet to be repaired. He urged owners to check if their vehicle is one among those affected and arrange a 30-min-free-of-charge process immediately.
Collins denied that the fatal accident in Sydney July 13 forced Honda to accelerate its rectification plan.
"The events of the last week or two has brought this to the fore, but we haven't done anything different to what we were already doing," he said, "we have been working hard on this issue for some time and we're running ahead of the rest of the industry when it comes to our completion rate".
According to Collins, Honda has more than 105,000 new airbag inflators in stock around the country with another 30,000 arriving soon and claimed that Honda dealerships are repairing an average of 5000 vehicles per week with the capacity to double that at peak times.
However, with models dating back to 2003, it has proven difficult to contact current owners as they may be a second or third owner of the vehicle.
Honda has contacted the family of the deceased Sydney man – who was sent five official recall notifications – but would not comment on whether the Japanese car maker has offered any form of compensation.