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Auto blogFri, 07 Nov 2014 10:44:00 EST
The net enveloping vehicles in the Takata airbag inflator recall just seems to keep widening. Honda is now updating its previous campaign to revise the status for even more models that were ever registered in (or originally sold in) 13 high-humidity US states and territories.
All of these vehicles were included in the company's earlier repairs. However, at the time this fix was titled "a safety improvement campaign." This latest action upgrades that condition to "a formal recall," according to Honda's official statement. The models include: the 2003-2005 Honda Accord, 2001-2005 Civic (pictured above), 2002-2005 CR-V, 2003-2004 Element, 2002-2004 Odyssey, 2003-2005 Pilot, 2006 Ridgeline, 2003-2005 Acura MDX and the 2005 Acura RL. All of these need to have their passenger-side, front airbag inflator replaced, and the recall affects Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Saipan, Guam and American Samoa.
As with the rest of these affected vehicles, it's possible in a collision for the inflator to rupture spraying metal shrapnel at occupants. There are at least 139 injuries attributed to this problem from a variety of automakers so far. Among this latest population of vehicles, Honda says there have been no confirmed injuries or fatalities related to these exploding inflators.
The roofless Acura TL you see above is a product of Newport Convertible Engineering. No stranger to taking the lids off of Acuras - and a bunch of other cars, like this Jaguar XJ and this Toyota FJ Cruiser - NCE says it was the first US coachbuilder to produce an Acura NSX convertible.
NCE says the conversion takes about six weeks to complete, comes with a five-year warranty from the supplier and doesn't void the original warranty from Acura. On top of that, the interior fitments like sun visors, trunk space and rear seat belts all remain unaltered. Customers who are absolutely against the B-pillar can have it removed, but NCE says "The vehicle will be designed differently without the center bar."
To our eyes the TL looks pretty all right without a roof, and with stripes. NCE will shortly be preparing convertible versions of the 2013 Range Rover Supercharged Autobiography, Porsche Cayenne and Cadillac XTS. For Acura owners, there's a press release below with information on NCE if you have a TL and an urge to go way beyond the sunroof.
There's a distinct benefit to automakers having their own premium brand. After all, why develop one vehicle to be sold under one nameplate if you can turn it into two? Especially if a little reconfiguration and some premium accoutrements allow said automaker to charge significantly more for the luxury version. It's a winning formula - for crossovers especially - that Toyota has used to turn the Highlander into the Lexus RX (even if the first-gen RX arrived before the original Highlander), that Ford has used to transform the Edgee into the Lincoln MKX and that General Motors has applied to the Chevrolet Suburban to turn it into the Cadillac Escalade (to name just a few of the many examples out there). And it's one to which Honda and its Acura division are certainly not unaccustomed.
Acura has adapted its Euro-spec Honda Accord into the TSX, the Civic into the ILX, the CR-V into the RDX and the Pilot into the MDX. And now that the Honda Vezel is coming to market, Acura reportedly has its eye on that as well. The idea was first introduced when Acura unveiled the SUV-X concept (shown above) at the Shanghai Motor Show this past April, just a few months after Honda revealed its Urban SUV concept that previewed the production Vezel. At the time, says Automotive News, Acura said it intended to put the concept into production in China for the Chinese market, and it's reportedly moving ahead with those plans. But now that it is, executives are wondering where else they might find buyers for the premium compact crossover.
With the Vezel soon to begin production alongside the Fit at Honda's new plant in Mexico, it wouldn't be a stretch to see the Acura version follow suit. The market does, after all, seem to be heating up with entries like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA, and we couldn't blame Honda - pardon us, Acura - for wanting a slice of that pie.