U.S. regulators open probe on 2003-2004 Honda Odyssey airbags

DETROIT, June 10 Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:51pm EDT

DETROIT, June 10 (Reuters) - U.S. regulators said on Monday they have opened a preliminary evaluation into consumer complaints that front airbags on the best-selling Honda Odyssey minivan deploy unexpectedly.

The investigation could result in a recall for some 320,000 Odysseys from the 2003 and 2004 model years in the United States manufactured by Honda Motor Co.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it received six consumer complaints about improper airbag deployment in Odyssey minivans, three of which resulted in injuries.

All six of the drivers who complained to NHTSA said the Odysseys were on the road, either while in motion or at start-up, when the airbag deployed without the vehicle being involved in a crash.

Also, NHTSA said it has received 41 consumer complaints that the air bag warning light was illuminated.

NHTSA said that it was alerted to possible problems with the airbags in the Odyssey by a supplier that made similar airbags for Chrysler products that were recalled.

In the first five months of 2013, Odyssey was the top-selling minivan in the United States, with 25 percent of the minivan market, followed closely by the Toyota Motor Corp Sienna at 24.3 percent, the Dodge Caravan at 23.5 percent and the Chrysler Town & Country at 23.3 percent.

Dodge and Chrysler are both brands of the Chrysler Group LLC, which is majority owned by Fiat.

A Honda spokesman said the company would cooperate with NHTSA investigators.

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