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UPDATE 2-Honda to recall 1.2 mln vehicles in North America to replace Takata airbags

David Shepardson

airbags@ (Adds details, background, worldwide tally)

WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co said on Tuesday it would recall 1.2 million Honda and Acura vehicles in North America to replace defective Takata airbags on the driver's side.

The company said https://hondanews.com/channels/corporate-recalls/releases/statement-by-american- h o n d a - r e g a r d i n g - r e c a l l - o f - t a k a t a - d e s i c c a t e d - r e p l a c e m e n t - d r i v e r - f r o n t - a i r b a g - i n f l a t o r s it was aware of one injury linked to the defect, which may have caused the airbag to rupture when it was deployed in a crash.

Of the 23 total deaths worldwide linked to faulty Takata airbags, 21 have occurred in Honda vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the recall covers 1.1 million U.S. vehicles and is to replace inflators received "either as a permanent Takata airbag inflator recall replacement or as a service part installed following a crash or problem with the airbag itself."

Another 100,000 vehicles are being recalled in Canada, Mexico and Central America, Honda said.

More than 290 injuries worldwide have been linked to Takata inflators that could explode, spraying metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks. In total, 19 automakers are recalling more than 100 million potentially faulty inflators worldwide.

Repairs of the recalled cars will begin immediately in the United States with replacement parts made by alternate suppliers, Honda said.

Honda became aware of the issue after a Honda Odyssey crash, where the front airbag deployed and injured the driver's arm.

An investigation later showed that manufacturing issues at Takata's Mexico facility introduced excessive moisture into the inflator during assembly, leading to the problem.

The total number of recalled inflators is now about 21 million in about 12.9 million Honda and Acura vehicles that have been subject to recall for replacing Takata front airbag inflators in the United States, the company said.

Automakers in the United States repaired more than 7.2 million defective Takata air bag inflators in 2018, as companies have ramped up efforts to track down parts in need of replacement. (Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru and David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Steve Orlofsky)