Honda to recall nearly 700,000 vehicles globally

Japanese automaker Honda on Thursday said it was recalling nearly 700,000 vehicles worldwide due to defective parts that could stall the engine and cause problems restarting in certain models.

The move comes after the car giant was forced to call back about 1.35 million vehicles in December and is the latest in a series of recalls to hit Japan's auto industry.

Honda said Thursday that defective spring parts had been found in its Freed compact minivan, Fit compact car and City sedan that could deteriorate over time, resulting in abnormal sounds and in the worst case lead to stalling.

Honda spokeswoman Natsuno Asanuma said the firm was recalling 693,497 vehicles globally, including 170,000 of the Freed and Fit models in Japan.

The latest action will affect over 220,000 units in Asia, mainly the Southeast Asian ASEAN area, and about 156,000 in China, she said. Around 97,000 units will be recalled in the United States.

No accidents associated with the defect have been reported, she added.

However, there have been 72 complaints in Japan, the transport ministry said.

Two months ago Honda pulled 1.35 million Fit cars, including 621,000 overseas, to repair a headlight defect.

Japan's car giants have seen millions of recalls in the past year, but none have been more affected than Toyota, the world's biggest auto maker.

Toyota became mired in crisis when it recalled nearly nine million vehicles between late 2009 and February last year due to brake and accelerator defects linked to deadly accidents that tarnished its image of reliability.

As criticism mounted of its slow response and bureaucratic inflexibility, Toyota tightened its recall policy and has pulled around 16 million units since late 2009 over a range of issues.

It scored a victory earlier this month after its electronic throttle systems were cleared of blame for defects linked to dozens of deaths in the US, but it still faces a long road towards restoring its reputation, say analysts.

Honda has now recalled more than four million vehicles since February 2010 over a range of different issues, while Nissan has pulled around 3.5 million in the same period.

Nissan Motor late last year said it was recalling more than 2.1 million cars globally due to a faulty engine control system, in one of its biggest ever single recalls, and more than half a million over a steering column fault.

Japan's big three automakers have all nevertheless raised their forecasts for annual profits as an improving global economy helps bolster demand, particularly in emerging markets.

Honda's net profit for the three months ended December fell nearly 40 percent year-on-year due to the impact of the strong yen and sliding Japanese demand, but in January it lifted its full-year profit forecast.

Its performance overseas in emerging markets and the United States helped Honda lift its full year profit forecast to 530 billion yen ($6.33 billion), up 97.5 percent year-on-year, compared with a 500 billion yen forecast in October.

Honda shares closed up 1.09 percent in Tokyo ahead of the recall announcement.

oh-dwa/dan

 

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