Honda Ads Urge Owners to Get Air Bags Replaced

DETROIT (Detroit Free Press/TNS) -

Honda is launching a new ad campaign next week urging customers to bring their recalled Hondas and Acuras in to have their air bags replaced.

Honda has the greatest exposure of 10 automakers to air bags manufactured by Japan’s Takata Corp. that can rupture and spray metal shards into vehicles’ passenger cabins. Such ruptures have been tied to five deaths in the U.S. and more than 100 injuries.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a recall for nearly 8 million vehicles with Takata air bags. Honda made more than 5 million of those.

The multimillion dollar campaign will begin March 16 with full-page color ads in more than 120 newspapers. Thirty-second radio spots, in both English and Spanish, will air in more than 110 markets. In addition, customized social-media posts mentioning each owner’s specific model will appear in their timelines.

The campaign will be more visible in 11 states and U.S. territories in which high humidity is believed to be a factor. Honda expanded the scope of the air-bag recall to include vehicles in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and California.

In January, Honda agreed to pay two fines of $35 million each to NHTSA. The first fine was for failing to report 1,719 deaths and injuries. The second was for failing to report certain warranty claims to the agency as required by law.

To maximize the number of owners who get their air bags replaced, Honda will go beyond the ad campaign, using automated phone calls, mailing notices to owners and asking dealers to contact customers.

Honda said in a statement that it has taken significant actions to accelerate the pace of air-bag-inflator production, including agreements with two air-bag suppliers who normally compete with Takata.

Earlier this month, Takata said it was producing 450,000 replacement kits per month with a goal of doubling that pace by September.

For those who want to find out if their vehicle is affected, Honda owners can go to recalls.honda.com or call 1-800-999-1009 and choose option 4. Acura owners can go to recalls.acura.com or call 1-800-382-2238 and chose option 4.