The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed Monday it has launched a safety probe involving some 1.3 million vehicles sold by Ford, Toyota and Honda Motor Cos. The agency has not enacted any recalls on any of the vehicles. Among the vehicles under investigation by NHTSA officials are 561,000 Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles built between 2004 and 2009 over an issue with the steering shaft. Interestingly, a recall announced last November involved 670,000 Prius hybrids from the same model years. That recall also focused on a problem with the steering column, although the new probe appears to be a different issue with the steering system.
Honda announced late last week that it is recalling almost 57,000 of its 2007 and 2008 Acura TL luxury sedans because of a leaky power steering hose that may potentially cause fires. The Japanese carmaker said that the faulty hoses were installed on 52,615 TLs that were sold in the US, while another 4,266 went to Canada. According to a statement announcing the recall, the hoses erode prematurely and could eventually start leaking fluid, leading either to loss of steering power or even smoke or fire.
Honda Motor Company announced on Friday it is recalling just over 1,300 of its CR-V sport utility vehicles sold in the United States to repair a welding issue that could lead to a loss of handling in the vehicles. The company said that a flawed welding process used in manufacturing the vehicles' right front lower control arm caused the weld to be weak, and could lead to breakage at that point. No crashes or injuries have been reported as a result of the flaw, the company said.
Honda Motors announced late Thursday that it is expanding its recall of vehicles with a defect in the airbag system to nearly 900,000 vehicles. The recall involves a defect in the airbag inflator, which has a risk of deploying with too much pressure, causing the inflator casing to rupture and potentially resulting in serious injury or even death. The company added another 600,000 vehicles to the recall Thursday, asking owners of the affected vehicles to bring their cars into a Honda dealer, where the vehicles will be inspected, and necessary repairs will be made at no cost.
Honda Motor Co announced on Friday it is recalling almost 2.5 million cars, SUVs and minivans around the world to repair a software problem that can lead to damage to the automatic transmission system. The recall includes about 1.5 million vehicles sold in the US, 760,000 in China, and 135,000 in Canada. Earlier in the week, Consumer Reports announced that it was no longer including Honda's popular Civic sedan, prompting some analysts to speculate that there might be some significant issues at Honda.
Honda Motor Co. released its second-quarter results Monday, posting a sharp decline in profits mostly due to supply chain disruptions stemming from the March 11th earthquake and tsunami in Japan. But a growing view that those supply disruptions may be coming to an end allowed the carmaker to upgrade its forecast for full-year earnings.
Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast that fewer cars were sold in May than in any month this year, but the lull is expected to be short-lived as dropping gas prices and a rebound of production in Japan drives the best-selling year for U.S. autos since 2008. The analysts expect the report on May deliveries of light vehicles, due to be released Wednesday, to show an annual pace of 12.1 million. The pace has been above 13 million for each of the previous three months, after coming in at 12.6 million in January.
Toyota and Honda, Japan's largest auto manufacturers, each saw their production cut in half in April as a result of the massive earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the island nation on March 11th. Honda says its worldwide production fell 52.9 percent on a year-to-year basis, including a staggering 81 percent decline in domestic production, while Toyota says its global production was down 48.1 percent. The March disaster damaged a number of power plants, including the Fukushima nuclear facility, which lies at the heart of an ongoing nuclear crisis, causing major disruptions in the carmakers' parts supply chains.
The American division of Honda Motors has recalled about 1,500 Civics sold in North America because of an issue that may cause fuel to leak, potentially causing fire, according to a joint announcement from the company and U.S. officials. The company's supply of Civics in North America has been cut by parts shortages stemming from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11th. The company has indicated that supply of the popular compact will be at its lowest point in June.
While a few smaller Japanese automakers have resumed production, albeit in a limited capacity, Honda and Toyota, the two Japanese carmakers with the greatest impact on the US market, announced separately on Tuesday they will extend production halts through the end of the week.