American Honda Issues Yet Another Recall Notice

By Scott Doggett September 6, 2011

Another Honda Recall.jpg

In the latest of a string of recall announcements this year involving Honda cars sold in America, the automaker this week said it will voluntarily recall 5,626 CR-Z (above) hybrid sports cars from model year 2011. The recall effects CR-Z models equipped with manual transmissions, and will involve updating the software that controls the vehicles' electric motors. In the affected cars, when the gasoline engine has stalled with the integrated-motor-assist (IMA) battery in a very low state of charge and the transmission is in gear, it is possible for the electric motor to rotate in the direction opposite to that selected by the transmission. "If this occurs and the driver has not engaged the brakes, the vehicle may slowly roll in an unexpected direction (e.g., backwards when the transmission is in a forward gear), potentially leading to a crash," Japan's second-largest automaker said in a statement.

A software update will add further controls to correct the problem, the company said, adding that no injuries or deaths have been reported related to this condition. In the same statement, Honda said it would voluntarily recall 80,111 CR-V vehicles from the 2006 model year in the U.S. to replace the power window master switch. The design of the power window master switch can allow residue from interior cleaners to accumulate, which can over time cause the electrical contacts to degrade and may lead to a fire in the switch, the automaker said. No injuries or deaths have been reported related to this condition.

Honda said it announced these recalls to encourage all owners of affected vehicles to take their vehicles to an authorized dealer as soon as they receive notification of a recall from Honda. Notifications will begin late this month, the company said. The recall announcements came within hours of a Honda spokesman in Tokyo stating that the company would recall about 960,000 Fit subcompacts and other models globally to repair defects, including the malfunctioning power window switches.

Unknown Impact
With Honda's U.S. vehicle inventory having been low for most of the past six months due to the March 11 quake and tsunami in Japan, it's hard to say what effect these recalls and those mentioned below have contributed to American Honda's sales figures for the year, which are dismal. Honda sales for this past August compared with August 2010 declined 27.2 percent -- the worst of the Big Six automakers. Despite the presence of the all-new 2012 model, Civic sales plunged 49 percent last month, to 12,083 -- and year-to-date Civic sales are off a 14.9 percent at a time when many competitors compact cars are racking up huge sales increases. Honda's Japanese-built Fit subcompact recorded a hefty decline of 40.2 percent in August, while the perennial strong-selling Accord midsize sedan also slid by 21.2 percent (and remains off by 16.4 percent for the year).

Even Honda's best-selling CR-V couldn't come to the rescue in August, with sales of the popular midsize crossover falling 18.1 percent. Sales of the Odyssey minivan slid by 18.3 percent and now are down 6.6 percent for the year, leaving the Pilot midsize crossover as the only mainstream Honda vehicle to record a sales increase (11.4 percent) in August. That includes Honda's hybrids, which also were hammered: Insight sales plunged 54.5 percent to 961 units and the 2-door CR-Z fell 3.2 percent to just 745 sales.

String Of Recalls
Last month, Honda said it would voluntarily recall 1.5 million vehicles in the U.S. to update the software that controls the automatic transmission in certain 2005-2010 Accord, CR-V and Element vehicles. In May, Honda announced it would voluntarily recall 1,156 model-year 2012 Civic vehicles in the U.S. to replace the fuel feed line, which could potentially leak a small amount of fuel. Also in May, Honda expanded a previously announced recall of certain 2001 through 2003 model-year Honda and Acura vehicles sold in the U.S. to include vehicles that may have had the original driver's airbag module replaced with an affected service part.

In March, American Honda said it would voluntarily recall 2,800 model-year 2011 Odyssey vehicles in the U.S. to replace the side window glass in one or both of the front doors. Also in March: Honda said it would voluntarily recall 33,341 model-year 2011 Odyssey vehicles in the U.S. to replace the front windshield wiper linkage rod; 18,056 model-year 2011 Civic vehicles in the U.S. to inspect and possibly replace the fuel pump module inside the gasoline tank; and 36,656 Civic Hybrid vehicles from model years 2006 through 2007 in the U.S. to replace the DC-to-DC converter, a component of the IMA hybrid control system.

In February, Honda said it would recall 97,201 model years 2009 and 2010 Fit vehicles in the U.S. to replace the lost motion springs, components within the engine valve train. In January, Honda announced that it would recall 2,277 model-year 2010 Accord 4-cylinder and CR-V vehicles in the U.S. to replace an electrical wire harness coupler in the engine compartment.

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