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Ford urges 2,900 pickup owners to stop driving after new Takata death

WASHINGTON – Ford Motor Co said on Thursday it had confirmed a second death in an older pickup truck caused by a defective airbag inflator of Takata Corp and urged 2,900 owners in North America to stop driving immediately until they can get replacement parts.

The second largest U.S. automaker said it confirmed in late December that a July 2017 crash death in West Virginia in a 2006 Ford Ranger was caused by a defective Takata inflator. It previously reported a similar death in South Carolina that occurred in December 2015.

Ford said both Takata deaths occurred with inflators built on the same day installed in 2006 Ranger pickups. At least 21 deaths worldwide are linked to the Takata inflators that can rupture and send deadly metal fragments into the driver’s body. The faulty inflators have led to the largest automotive recall in history. The other 19 deaths have occurred in Honda Motor Co vehicles, most of which were in the United States.

Ford issued a new recall for automobiles that had been previously recalled in 2016. Of those 391,000 2004-2006 Ranger vehicles, the new recall announced on Thursday affects 2,900 vehicles. These include 2,700 in the United States and nearly 200 in Canada. The new recall will allow for identification of the 2,900 owners in the highest risk pool.

A Mazda Motor Corp spokeswoman said Thursday the company would conduct a similar recall and stop drive warning for some 2006 Mazda B-Series trucks, which were built by Ford and are similar to the Ranger.

Japanese auto supplier Takata plans to sell its viable operations to Key Safety Systems, an affiliate of China’s Ningo Joyson Electric Corp, for $1.6 billion. Takata did not immediately comment Thursday on the Ford action.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urged owners to heed Ford’s warning. “It is extremely important that all high-risk air bags are tracked down and replaced immediately,” NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldana said.

Ford said it would pay to have vehicles towed to dealerships or send mobile repair teams to owners’ homes and provide free loaners if needed.

Takata said in June that it has recalled, or expected to recall, about 125 million vehicles worldwide by 2019, including more than 60 million in the United States. Some 19 automakers worldwide are impacted.

Takata inflators can explode with excessive force, unleashing metal shrapnel inside cars and trucks and have injured more than 200. The defect led Takata to file for bankruptcy protection in June.

In 2017, prosecutors in Detroit charged three former senior Takata executives with falsifying test results to conceal the inflator defect. None have come to the United States to face charges.

Last year, Takata pleaded guilty to wire fraud and were subject to pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties in a U.S. court in connection with the recalls.

Automakers have struggled to get enough replacement parts for the massive recalls. A November NHTSA report said about two-thirds of U.S. vehicles recalled have not yet been repaired.

Senator Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said in a statement on Thursday the latest death is evidence of “the very definition of a failed recall” pointing to the earlier Ford death in 2015. NHTSA must do more, he said, to make the recall a priority.

In November, NHTSA rejected a petition from Ford to delay recalling 3 million vehicles with potentially defective airbag inflators to conduct additional testing.

In June 2016, NHTSA warned airbag inflators on more than 300,000 unrepaired recalled 2001-2003 model year Honda vehicles showed a substantial risk of rupturing, and urged owners to stop driving them until getting them fixed. NHTSA said they have as high as a 50 percent chance of a rupture in a crash.

Reporting by David Shepardson.

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BMW recalling 1 million vehicles in North America

WASHINGTON, Nov 3 (Reuters) – BMW AG said on Friday it is recalling about 1 million vehicles in North America for two separate issues involving fire risks and said it may expand the recalls to other countries.

One recall covers 670,000 2006-2011 U.S. 3-Series vehicles to address a wiring issue for heating and air conditioning systems that may overheat and could increase the risk of a fire.

The second recall covers 740,000 U.S. 2007-2011 vehicles with a valve heater that could rust and lead to a fire in rare cases. The recall includes some 128i vehicles, 3-Series, 5-Series and X3, X5 and Z4 vehicles.

BMW spokesman Michael Rebstock said the recalls overlap and cover about 1 million vehicles, nearly all in the United States and about 15,000 in Canada. He said the recalls may be expanded.

“We are examining whether it will be necessary in the future to widen this (recall) into other countries,” he said.

BMW said both recalls followed recent meetings with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In the heating and air conditioning recall, BMW told NHTSA it first got a report of an incident in 2008 involving heat- related damage to a 2006 3-Series sedan, but did not determine a root cause. The automaker continued to monitor additional field incidents in the following years.

In 2011, BMW made a quality improvement to the blower-regulator wiring harness. No injuries were reported between 2007 and 2014, but in 2015, BMW was made aware of three incidents in which there were allegations of injuries. In early September, BMW learned of another incident involving a 2011 BMW 3 Series vehicle.

Dealers will replace a wiring harness if necessary and potentially additional parts.

In the valve heater issue recall, BMW first received a report in 2009 of an incident in a 2007 X5 involving heat-related damage to the engine compartment, the company told NHTSA. It received other reports and continued to review the issue and inspect returned parts, but had no reports of injuries or crashes related to the issue. Dealers will replace the valve heater.

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Honda recalls 2.1 million Accords worldwide over fire risk

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Honda Motor Co said on Friday it would recall about 2.1 million vehicles worldwide to replace battery sensors due to the risk of fire.

Chris Martin, a spokesman for the Japanese automaker said the recall would include 1.15 million Honda Accord vehicles from the 2013-2016 model years in the United States, and nearly 1 million elsewhere, to replace a 12-volt battery sensor.

Meanwhile, the 2018 Honda Accord was revealed Friday.

The company said it had received four reports of engine compartment fires in the United States and at least one in Canada, in areas that use significant amounts of road salt during the winter. There have been no reported injuries.

The automaker has received 3,972 U.S. warranty claims relating to the issue.

The battery sensors may not be sufficiently sealed against moisture intrusion, Honda said. Over time, moisture may introduce road salt or other material into the battery sensor, leading to rust and eventual electrical shorting of the sensor.

Due to the large size of the recall, Honda said dealers would initially adopt a temporary fix by applying an adhesive to prevent moisture intrusion, and then later replace the sensor.

The company first received a claim of an engine compartment fire from Canada in 2015 and began investigating the issue. In early 2016, it received a claim of a similar fire in China.

Honda introduced a redesigned battery sensor in June 2016. After an investigation of the China incident, the automaker said it initially believed the “future occurrence rate was estimated to be low,” but continued to probe the matter after receiving additional reports of fires.

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