One week ago we reported about Toyota and the massive recalls initiated by the company to avoid potentially hazardous situations. Today, another manufacturer announces a worldwide recall: Honda. With 646,000 compact cars scheduled for recall (from which only 141,140 in the United States, 171,372 in the U.K., and 229,000 are in Latin America), Honda does not even come near Toyota’s record numbers, however the company still deals with huge financial losses at this time; and an even bigger credibility and PR crisis. The same is true for Toyota, which had to face US Congress scrutiny over its biggest ever safety recall, even more since Toyota is regarded as the world’s No.1 automaker.
Both recalls came at a very bad time for the industry – most automakers are trying to deal with the effects of the Global recession, and their efforts to lure buyers back to their showrooms could be compromised when some of the world’s safest automobiles are under scrutiny.
“The Japanese have built their image on reliability, the fact that they make bullet-proof vehicles,” said IHS Global Insight analyst Carlos Da Silva. “It’s not that their vehicles are worse than the others, (the recalls are) just showing maybe that their vehicles are like the others. The race to cost cuts and the competition between all the brands is so fierce that even the mighty Japanese are doing things that are not as reliable as they were.”
The news comes shortly after Honda has initiated the “Safety for Everyone” initiative in North America, “a comprehensive approach to vehicle safety that seeks to provide enhanced levels of occupant protection and help with crash avoidance in all Honda and Acura passenger vehicle designs, while also making an active commitment to enhance safety for the occupants of other vehicles and pedestrians.” The credibility of the campaign is somewhat diminished by today’s news, where Honda’s vehicles appear to be everything but safe.
Honda recalls its vehicles so that it can examine window switches that can overheat if exposed to liquid, causing smoke or melting or even catch fire.
“Under some severe operating conditions, water, rain, or other liquid may enter the driver’s window and reach the master power window switch, resulting in impaired function of the switch,” Honda said in a statement. “If the master power window switch is damaged as a result of the liquid intrusion, it may result in failure of the switch and overheating. An overheating switch may cause smoke, melting or, potentially, fire,”
There are a number of ways to find out if your vehicle is affected by the campaign. You can either call Automobile Customer Service at 1-800-999-1009 (press the appropriate option for Campaign information) or you can access information on any campaign affecting your vehicle through your Owner Link account on honda.com. Customers outside US can call: Honda Canada Customer Service – (888) 946-6329; Honda Motor Europe LTD. TOLL-FREE – 01753 590590; Honda de Mexico Servicio a Clientes – 01 800 368 8500.