File picture shows Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp's auto accesories on display at a car showroom in Tokyo. Honda said on November 13 that an exploding airbag in one of its cars killed a woman in Malaysia, bringing to five the number of deaths linked to a defect in parts made by embattled Japanese supplier Takata. - AFP
PETALING JAYA: Honda Malaysia is set to recall 15,734 of its vehicles here, following the death of a pregnant lady from an abnormal rupture of a Takata-made airbag installed in its cars.
A news wire reported that it was the first known fatal crash linked to faulty Takata airbags outside the United States. The accident took place on July 27 but was only disclosed by Honda on Thursday.
According to the report, there were four other deaths linked to the Takata airbags in the US, including one in Florida that police first investigated as a murder because of gashes to the driver's throat.
The Malaysian case involved a 2003 Honda City manufactured in Thailand, and the airbag was made in a Takata plant in Georgia. The car was purchased in Brunei.
According to Honda Malaysia's public relations head Jordhatt Johan, the automaker is recalling 15,734 vehicles in Malaysia.
"Honda Malaysia issued a recall for 15,734 Honda cars yesterday (Thursday) in relation to the Takata airbag issue. The recall is to fix the driver side airbag.
"The Honda cars recalled are 15,612 units of the 2003 and 2004 Honda City, and 122 units of the 2004 Honda Jazz," said Jordhatt.
He said Honda also expressed condolences to the family affected by the incident.
The report quoted a local newspaper dated July 31 as saying that a 43-year-old pregnant woman died on the way to hospital after a road accident in Sibu town in Sarawak on July 27.
The newspaper reported that although doctors managed to remove the foetus alive, the baby died in an intensive care unit on July 29.
Jordhatt said he could not confirm the details in the report.
Takata Chairman Shigehisa Takada has "deeply apologised" for the Malaysia incident, the grandson of the 81-year-old company founder said in a statement on Thursday.
Honda was notified of the July accident one month later and is now recalling 170,000 additional vehicles worldwide because of a problem traced back to a Takata plant in Georgia, said spokesman Akemi Ando.
Takata has already disclosed issues with factories in Moses Lake, Washington, and Monclova, Mexico, in US regulatory documents.
Thursday's expanded Honda recall involved five models including the Fit and the Civic, Ms Ando said.
The company will recall about 70,000 units sold in Japan, as well as vehicles in China, Europe and other overseas markets. None of the vehicles were sold in North America.
Faulty air bag inflators made by Takata have ruptured and spewed metal fragments at passengers, prompting safety campaigns by automakers including Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Co.