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New death linked to Takata airbag crisis, Honda recalls 170k vehicles overseas

Sat, 15 Nov 2014

The safety crisis surrounding Takata's exploding airbags continues to expand. In the latest revelation, Honda confirms another death linked to the faulty parts, and the company is expanding its recall of the components. However, none of the newly added vehicles are in the United States.

With the confirmation of this report, there are now five deaths linked to the faulty airbags. According to The New York Times, a pregnant woman in Malaysia was killed on July 27 in a 2003 Honda City when she crashed into another vehicle, and the inflator ruptured. This was the first announced case outside of the US.

The faulty part in the woman's car was reportedly made at a now-closed Takata factory in Georgia, according to the NYT, and it's the first known example from that location. In response, Honda recalled about 170,000 vehicles in Europe and Asia to replace the potentially bad inflators. The latest campaign brings the total number of recalled vehicles worldwide to around 14.3 million units.

In addition to the tragedy, Takata is facing several investigations in the US. A federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York subpoenaed the company's documents connected to the recall, according to The New York Times. The Senate Commerce Committee is holding its own hearing into the problem on November 20 with representatives from many of the affected automakers expected to testify.

Leaders at Honda and Takata both are under intense scrutiny at the moment. The chairman of the parts supplier has been criticized for remaining out of sight during the catastrophe, while former bosses at the automaker have met with the current CEO over the company's recent recalls.

By Chris Bruce

See also: Former Honda CEOs chide current boss about quality, Six 'shut up and take my money' cars, NHTSA probing 400,000 Infiniti, Honda vehicles over steering faults.