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Honda recalls American built Odyssey and Mitsubishi Galant vehicles in US

The recall in automobiles sectors in United States so far was limited to cars only. However now its into minivans and trucks also. This is an cause for concern for not only car companies but also the customers. Honda, the Japanese car giant is recalling its mini vans and sports utility vehicles in America. The number of Honda vehicles to be recalled is 412,000.

The Honda company has decided to recall the vehicles in-lieu of the complaints from drivers that brakes feel ‘soft’ in the latest safety scare to hit the Automotive Industry. The motorist find it difficult to halt their Honda vehicles as they had to press pedal brakes closer to the floor and this is the scenario for all ageing vehicles.

Honda on Tuesday March 16, 2010 announced that the company intends to make adjustments to 344,000 Odyssey Minivans and 68,000 Element vehicles built in 2007 and 2008. Honda further commented that its British and European cars are not affected and recall is mainly for American built Honda Odyssey and Mitsubishi Galant. The issue surrounding recall is the vehicle’s brakes.

What is more troubling for Honda in minivans and trucks recall, is the seriousness of potential defect with the airbags in the vehicle. There is a potential risk to the driver as on deployment these airbags shoot metal shards through the airbag fabric. According to Wall St. Journal one person reportedly died and 11 other injured in various car accidents due to defective Honda Airbags.

The irony of the situation is that the air bags are deployed to increase driver’s safety but in the event of collision the occupant was rather injured who otherwise might have escaped injury after the collision.

Honda however has been trying to escape responsibility for the defective airbags and rest the same on the manufacturer of the particular parts. It has placed a blamed on Japan’s Takata Corporation’s US unit for deviation from the designed approved by Honda while manufacturing airbags. Honda’s chief financial officer, Yoichi Hojo told Reuters that Honda is seeking financial compensation from Takata.

This Honda minivans and trucks recall is likely to cost Honda $2.2 to $3.3 million. It is interesting to note that the cost of recalls decreases with time. This is because there will be more and more vehicles in the model class that retire from the road, leaving fewer cars to be recalled hence lesser expenditure. Hence such delays are cost savings for the car manufacturers.

But in such a case if the manufacturer, knowing the defects in a particular model, delays the recall, it is liable for punitive damages in various product liability lawsuits. These damages are different from compensatory damages as they punish the guilty and avoid future misconduct of the same kind.