August 25, 2020
Carson City, NV
– Today, Nevada
Attorney General Aaron D. Ford announces a more than $85 million
multistate settlement with American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and Honda of America
Mfg., Inc. (collectively “Honda”), over allegations Honda concealed safety
issues related to defects in the frontal airbag systems installed in certain Honda
and Acura vehicles sold in the United States. The systems were designed and
manufactured by Takata Corporation, a longtime Honda supplier, and were first
installed in Honda vehicles in the 2001 model year.
The settlement, reached between the attorneys general of 48 states and territories 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 passenger
compartments of many Honda and Acura vehicles. The ruptures have resulted in at
least 14 deaths and more than 200 injuries in the United States alone.
“Companies have a duty to consumers to disclose dangerous
safety issues with their products as soon as they become known,” AG Ford
said. “My office will hold companies that fail to do so accountable for their
dangerous action, or inaction.”
The states have 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. Furthermore,
Honda continued to represent to consumers that its vehicles, including its
airbags, were safe. Since 2008, Honda
has recalled approximately 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles equipped with
the suspect inflators.
The states have alleged that Honda’s actions, or its
failures to act, as well as its misrepresentations about the safety of its
vehicles, were deceptive, and that Honda’s conduct violated state consumer
protection laws, including Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Under the terms of the consent judgment, Honda has agreed
to strong injunctive relief which, among other things, require it:
- To take steps to ensure that future airbag
designs include “fail-safe” features to protect passengers in the event the
- To adopt changes to its procurement process for
new frontal airbags, to ensure that its suppliers have the appropriate industry
certifications and satisfy key industry performance standards, as well as
improve record-keeping and parts tracking.
- To implement recurrence prevention procedures
designed to prevent a tragedy like this from ever 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.
- To abide by prohibitions on misleading advertisements
and point of sale representations regarding the safety of Honda’s vehicles,
including the airbags.
- To make improvements in critical areas such as
risk management, quality control, supplier oversight, training and
certifications, and implementing mandatory whistleblower protections.
Honda also agreed to pay the participating attorneys
general a total of $85,151,210.15, of which Nevada’s share is $1,238,738.80.
In addition to Nevada, the multistate group – led by South
Carolina, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia,
Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, South Dakota, and Texas – includes 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 Carolina,
North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island,
Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and
Consumers who own a Honda or Acura vehicle are strongly
encouraged to visit Honda’s airbag recall website at https://hondaairbaginfo.com, or
call its Customer Service toll-free number 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