Tuesday’s news not only brought the Takata conspiracy to the forefront of a 24/7 sensationally driven news diatribe often filled with half-truths and innuendo, but in this case pulled a company known for safety and safe consumerism to a new public approval low.
Unfortunately, many reading today’s news will now question the integrity of Honda Motors, a company long recognized as a straight-shooting manufacturer of affordable, safe cars and light trucks.
This admitted activity of accident and death report manipulation would seem counter to Honda’s long-standing, award winning policy of customer safety first. After all Honda holds more IIHS “highest safety rated vehicle” awards than any other North American automotive manufacturer.
Honda Motor Company isn't hiding anything
Furthermore, Honda initiates more precautionary, voluntary car and light truck safety related recalls than any other North American manufacturer. Note the words “precautionary and voluntary.”
Looking to the news, Honda officials have blamed the under-reporting of 1729 product related injuries and deaths to U.S. federal regulators on a computer glitch. Granted, the under-reported events span a decade.
However, in my personal and professional experience in Honda news, there’s no company on the planet more thorough than Honda when it comes to logistics, record keeping and subsequent recall; when necessitated by dealership provided, service report and consumer polled data.
Granted, this storm cloud’s been building on the horizon for several months. I've reported at length on the Takata airbag debacle, mostly in an effort to comfort my concerned readers as to the probability of injury(minute)as the result of an early airbag inflation or sprayed plastic shrapnel there- of. Nonetheless, the possibility of such an event strikes terror in those of us prone to what if?
To date: Two deaths in North America have been directly attributed to malfunctioning airbag systems. As to the corrected and submitted federal report, those numbers have not been made known to the public. In the mean-time the damage of perceived inequity and questionable corporate integrity will have an effect on Honda sales in the near term.
It may be of little comfort or solace to would- be Honda buyers that a 2015 North American built Honda will not contain a Takata airbag, and that a Honda car or light truck featuring state of the art passive and active safety features will most likely be the safest automobile you may ever own. It will take time for the North American buyer to wade past Tuesday’s news as Honda proceeds with perhaps the largest and most expensive precautionary recall in the company's history.