May 24, 1995 in Nation/World

Nine Automakers Agree To Repair Seat Belts In 8.4 Million Vehicles

Associated Press
 

Nine automakers agreed Tuesday to repair or replace Japanese-made front seat belts in 8.4 million cars sold from 1986 through 1991. The buckles could jam or fail to latch or release.

The voluntary safety recall - one of the largest in history - was reached with seven Japanese manufacturers and two American manufacturers using the Takata Corp. seat belts.

“Our investigation showed, and the automakers acknowledged, that buttons in these buckles have broken and others may break in the future,” said Transportation Secretary Federico Pena.

The buttons on Takata front seat belts will be replaced or repaired free of charge and have been extended a lifetime warranty, said Ricardo Martinez, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The companies with the majority of vehicles involved in the recall - American Honda Motor Co. Inc. and Nissan North America Inc. - will send out letters to customers that prominently say “important recall safety notice,” government and company officials said.

The sample letters for the two companies also say the plastic orange belt button may break and pieces may fall into the seat belt assembly, creating a safety risk.

The other automakers, most of which confirmed they expect to follow suit with similar letters, are Mitsubishi Motor Sales of America Inc., Mazda Motor of America Inc., American Suzuki Motor Corp., Isuzu Motors America Inc., Subaru of America Inc., General Motor Corp. and Chrysler Corp.

Daihatsu Motor Co., which no longer makes vehicles in the United States, is continuing to meet with the government but has not reached an agreement, said William Boehly, an NHTSA associate administrator.

Ford officials announced Tuesday they did not believe any of the 265,000 Festiva vehicles they initially identified with the TK-52 and TK-A7 belts actually had them. NHTSA was notified of the development in a letter late Monday.

At least 90 injuries - but no deaths - have been reported from accidents in which the belts were used, according to NHTSA documents. There have been 931 consumer complaints the Takata belts jammed or failed to lock or unlock.

The agency has been investigating the TK-52 and TK-A7 belts since October.

The list of makes includes some of the companies’ most popular vehicles, including the Honda Civic, Accords and Preludes; Nissan Infiniti; Mitsubishi Eclipse; and Mazda MX-6 and 323.Most of the vehicles sold by the U.S. Big Three automakers that have the belts, such as the Chrysler Colt, were imported from Japan and some of them also sell under Japanese brand names, such as GM’s Geo Tracker and Metro and the Suzuki Sidekick and Swift.NHTSA, the companies and Taka ta declined to discuss the cost of the recall.

However, industry sources have estimated it would be millions of dollars to replace the belt buttons and there could be as little as 15 minutes of labor involved per car.

Takata officials said they would next have substantive discussions with the companies about who would pay what for the replacements.

Takata supplies a majority of the seat belts used by car companies in Japan and 20 percent of the belts used in the North American auto industry, Takata officials said.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: VEHICLES WITH DEFECTIVE SEAT BELTS Makes and some models of automakers with Takata Inc. seat belts made from 1986 through 1991: HONDA: 3.7 million vehicles 1986-1991 Civic 1986-1987, 1989-1991 Civic CRX 1986-1990 Acura Legend 1986-1991 Acura Integra 1991 Acura NSX Coupe 1986-1991 Accord 1986-1991 Prelude

NISSAN: 2.01 million vehicles 1990-1991 Infiniti Q45, M30 1987-1988 Nissan 200SX 1989-1991 Nissan 240SX 1988-1991 Pathfinder 1988-1991 Pickup D21 1987-1988, 1990 Van (C22) 1987-1991 Sentra

CHRYSLER: 920,000 vehicles 1986-1989 Conquest 1986-1991 Colt 1989-1991 Summit 1990-1991 Laser-Talon 1991 Stealth 1987-1989 Raider 1986-1991 Ram-Ram 50

MITSUBISHI: 658,000 vehicles. 1986 Starion 1986-1988 Cordia 1986-1987, 1989 Galant 1988-1990 Sigma 1986-1991 Mirage 1990-1991 Eclipse 1991 3000GT 1986-1991 Montero 1987-1990 van-wagon 1986-1991 pickup

GENERAL MOTORS: 466,902 vehicles 1990-1991 Geo Storm 1989-1991 Geo Tracker 1989-1991 Geo Metro

MAZDA: 360,433 vehicles 1988-1989 323 and 323 wagon 1988-1989 MX-6 1988-1991 929 1989-1991 MPV minivan

SUZUKI: 115,874 vehicles 1989-1991 Swift 1988-1991 Samurai 1989-1991 Sidekick

SUBARU: 101,005 vehicles 1987-1991 Justy 1988-1990 Loyale

ISUZU: 89,902 1990-1991 Impulse 1990-1991 Pickup 1991 Rodeo 1991 Stylus

Not participating in recall: DAIHATSU: 7,514 vehicles 1990-1991 Rocky - Associated Press

This sidebar appeared with the story: VEHICLES WITH DEFECTIVE SEAT BELTS Makes and some models of automakers with Takata Inc. seat belts made from 1986 through 1991: HONDA: 3.7 million vehicles 1986-1991 Civic 1986-1987, 1989-1991 Civic CRX 1986-1990 Acura Legend 1986-1991 Acura Integra 1991 Acura NSX Coupe 1986-1991 Accord 1986-1991 Prelude

NISSAN: 2.01 million vehicles 1990-1991 Infiniti Q45, M30 1987-1988 Nissan 200SX 1989-1991 Nissan 240SX 1988-1991 Pathfinder 1988-1991 Pickup D21 1987-1988, 1990 Van (C22) 1987-1991 Sentra

CHRYSLER: 920,000 vehicles 1986-1989 Conquest 1986-1991 Colt 1989-1991 Summit 1990-1991 Laser-Talon 1991 Stealth 1987-1989 Raider 1986-1991 Ram-Ram 50

MITSUBISHI: 658,000 vehicles. 1986 Starion 1986-1988 Cordia 1986-1987, 1989 Galant 1988-1990 Sigma 1986-1991 Mirage 1990-1991 Eclipse 1991 3000GT 1986-1991 Montero 1987-1990 van-wagon 1986-1991 pickup

GENERAL MOTORS: 466,902 vehicles 1990-1991 Geo Storm 1989-1991 Geo Tracker 1989-1991 Geo Metro

MAZDA: 360,433 vehicles 1988-1989 323 and 323 wagon 1988-1989 MX-6 1988-1991 929 1989-1991 MPV minivan

SUZUKI: 115,874 vehicles 1989-1991 Swift 1988-1991 Samurai 1989-1991 Sidekick

SUBARU: 101,005 vehicles 1987-1991 Justy 1988-1990 Loyale

ISUZU: 89,902 1990-1991 Impulse 1990-1991 Pickup 1991 Rodeo 1991 Stylus

Not participating in recall: DAIHATSU: 7,514 vehicles 1990-1991 Rocky - Associated Press

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