It’s like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack, only these needles possess the power to kill.
Of the roughly 70 million vehicles recalled for potentially deadly Takata airbags, Honda vehicles make up over one-seventh of the total. Certain Honda models have been listed as the most dangerous of the group, but, at around 15 years of age, the vehicles are now at the bottom of the automotive food chain, far from dealer lots and manufacturer oversight.
In its quest to rid the marketplace of dangerous Honda models, the automaker has already gone to unusual lengths to find the vehicles. Now, it’s going even further.
To weed out the vehicles, Honda has tapped a company that provides software to 22,000 independent repair shops. With the automaker’s help, CCC has developed a program that flags an affected Honda or Acura vehicle, should one roll into the shop.
According to Automotive News, the program is already on the hunt. Called True Recall, the program allows service technicians to see that an open recall exists for the model. Once it has notified the customer, the shop could help arrange the recall service with a dealership. (They’re encouraged to do so.)
Honda compensates CCC for each vehicle found through the program. Vehicle identification numbers entered into the program as part of the normal repair process are then matched with a database of vehicles provided by the automaker. By providing access to the places where the affected vehicles are most likely to be found, the program gives Honda it a leg up in its race against time.
The U.S. recently saw an 11th confirmed Takata airbag-related death. The victim, a 50-year-old California woman, died after her 2001 Honda Civic rear-ended another vehicle in October. Hers was one of 313,000 high-risk vehicles identified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. According to the NHTSA, the airbag failure rate of the group of 2001-2003 Honda and Acura vehicles could be as high as 50 percent.
Honda has reportedly searched used car lots and recycling yards across the country, purchasing thousands of older vehicles in order to keep them away from unsuspecting owners.