- American Honda Motor Co. will replace the bumper beams on approximately 12,000 2015 Honda Fit hatchbacks that were sold earlier this year.
- As a result of the modification, the 2015 Fit earned a 2014 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
- Consumers who own early-production 2015 Fit vehicles will be notified by mail in late September and dealers will do the work for free.
Consumers who own early-production 2015 Fit vehicles will be notified by mail in late September and dealers will do the work for free.
The 2015 Fit is not being recalled, according to Chuck Thomas, Honda's chief engineer for vehicle safety in the U.S., in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
"This isn't a recall," Thomas said. "We're going to do a product update."
All 2015 Fit vehicles built on or after June 9, 2014 have the revised bumper beam with improved welds and do not need to be taken to the dealership for service.
"This modification will significantly improve protection in small overlap crashes," said the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in a statement on Thursday.
The 2015 Fit stumbled in the first round of testing by the Institute in March, earning a "marginal" rating in the small overlap crash test.
"In the first test, the bumper beam, a steel bar located behind the plastic bumper cover, broke free of the frame rail on the passenger side early in the crash," the Institute said. "This caused much more of the crash energy to be absorbed by the driver side of the car, resulting in extensive intrusion into the occupant compartment and excessive upward movement of the steering column."
Honda asked for a re-test.
"We didn't see the level of performance that we had designed into the vehicle," Thomas said.
In the second test with the improved bumper beam welds, the bumper beam "stayed attached to the frame rail," the Institute said. "Intrusion into the occupant compartment was reduced and the steering column was much more stable, resulting in an 'acceptable' rating."
Only Fits with the replacement bumper beam earn the "acceptable" rating in the small overlap test and qualify for the Top Safety Pick award. The small overlap test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or a utility pole.
The Institute notes that the 2015 Fit, with its "acceptable" rating, is a "significant improvement over the 2009-'13 model, which was rated 'poor.'"
Thomas said the modification "can be done within 30 minutes."
Edmunds says: The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is urging consumers who bought 2015 Honda Fits produced earlier in the year to take advantage of this free replacement to boost protection in small overlap crashes.