For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced a $85,151,210.15 multistate settlement with American Honda Motor Co Inc. and Honda of America Mfg. Inc. (collectively “Honda”) over allegations they concealed safety issues related to defects in the frontal airbag systems installed in certain Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the United States. North Carolina will receive $2,210,213.77 of the settlement.
“Honda knew about safety concerns regarding their cars but didn’t act quickly enough to warn people or correct the issue,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Car manufacturers must be honest with people about vehicle safety. When they fail to do so, they put people’s lives at risk. I’m pleased that today’s settlement will help affected consumers and will ensure Honda does more to protect people in the future.”
Consumers who own a Honda or Acura vehicle should visit https://hondaairbaginfo.com or call Honda Customer Service at (888) 234-2138 to see if their vehicle is subject to a recall. Consumers may also check for open recalls by going to Safercar.gov. All safety recall repairs are free at authorized Honda dealers. Consumers can also contact NCDOJ’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM with any questions about this settlement.
The settlement, reached between 48 attorneys general and Honda concludes a multistate investigation into Honda’s alleged failure to inform regulators and consumers that the frontal airbags posed a significant risk of rupture, which could cause metal fragments to fly into the vehicles’ passenger compartments. The ruptures have resulted in at least 14 deaths and more than 200 injuries nationwide. The systems were designed and manufactured by Takata Corporation, a long-time Honda supplier, and were first installed in Honda vehicles in the 2001 model year.
The states alleged that Honda engineers suspected that the airbags’ propellant – ammonium nitrate – could burn aggressively and cause the inflator to burst. Despite these concerns, Honda delayed warning consumers or automobile safety officials even as it began partial recalls of affected vehicles in 2008 and 2009. The company also told consumers that its vehicles, including the airbags, were safe. Since 2008, Honda has recalled approximately 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles equipped with the suspect inflators. Attorney General Stein alleged that Honda’s actions and failures to act, as well as its misrepresentations about vehicle safety, violated North Carolina’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Under the settlement, Honda will:
- Take steps to ensure that future airbag designs include “fail-safe” features to protect passengers if the inflator ruptures.
- Change its procurement process to improve record-keeping and parts tracking, and make sure that suppliers have the appropriate industry certifications and satisfy key industry performance standards.
- Implement procedures to prevent these tragedies from happening again, such as requiring that Honda approve all new frontal airbag designs before the company will consider them for use in new Honda vehicles.
- Prohibit misleading advertisements and point of sale representations regarding the safety of Honda’s vehicles, including the airbags.
- Improve its risk management, quality control, supplier oversight, and training and certifications processes and implement mandatory whistleblower protections.
Attorney General Stein is joined in today’s settlement by the Attorneys General of South Carolina, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.