Honda cars recalled over fears they could burst into flames
Tens of thousands of cars made at the West Country’s biggest car factory are being recalled because they could burst into flames, bosses announced yesterday.
Japanese car manufacturer Honda said it would be trying to contact everyone who owns one of its Swindon-made CR-V cars, because of a potentially dangerous defect that could lead to it catching fire.
The manufacturer spotted the problem after one owner in Britain, and four in the United States, said they could smell burning.
The problem is a faulty seal on a master switch inside the driver’s door that controls the automatic windows. If liquid seeps inside it, it could overheat and the door itself could catch fire.
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Not all Honda CR-Vs are affected, just the second series to come out of the Swindon works between 2002 and 2006. Drivers owning one of those second series models are being asked to take their car to a Honda dealer to have it checked and get the switch repaired free of charge.
Honda is now working with the DVLA to get the addresses of everyone who owns one of the affected cars – estimates have put the number of second series cars, some of which will now be ten years old, on the roads of Britain at between 50,000 and 77,000. Across the world, the problem is leading to a global recall of almost half a million vehicles.
Honda said it hoped to have contacted the owners by the end of this week and Honda dealerships have been put on standby, and told what the problem is and how to fix it.
“What we’ve got to do is check each of the window switch areas that the seal is tight and if there is any incidence of burning or anything underneath, we'll replace the circuitry there,” said a Honda spokesman. “We will have it sorted out before Christmas.”
It is another blow to the Swindon firm, which was hit by the double whammy of the Japanese tsunami and the floods in south east Asia last year, which led to a halt to production for months during 2011. The CR-V, which is Honda’s 4x4 model, has been a consistent seller in Britain and Europe, and one of the Swindon plant’s long-term success stories. A new series of the car was unveiled just last week, with production confirmed at Swindon’s South Marston factory.
The firm announced the introduction of a two-wheel drive version, which would be cheaper than the standard 4x4, and models are arriving in dealerships this month – just as owners of the older cars turn up to get their faulty window switches fixed.
Last week, Honda UK said the cheapest new CR-V would be £21,395, while a top of the range diesel version would cost more than £32,000.
This is not the first time Honda has had to recall a model: two years ago more than 171,000 Jazz models were recalled when a similar fault was identified, after one of the superminis burst into flames in South Africa, killing a child.
A Honda spokesman said yesterday: “The work will be carried out free of charge and will take around an hour.”