Honda recalls Fit/Jazz cars over window fault

TOKYO/JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Honda Motor Co recalled 646,000 of its Fit/Jazz and City automobiles globally over a faulty window switch after a child died when fire broke out in a car last year.

The recall includes 140,000 vehicles in the United States and covers the models sold in North America, South America, Europe, South Africa and Asia, but not Japan, a spokeswoman said.

The Fit is Honda’s best-selling model in Japan.

Earlier this week, Toyota Motor Corp’s announced it would extend to Europe and China a recall of millions of vehicles due to faulty accelerator pedals and floor mats.

Honda said the recall was to fix a defective master switch, which could cause water to enter the power window switch and in some cases cause a fire.

There were three reported cases of fires due to the defect, two in the United States and one in South Africa, the spokeswoman said.

A spokesman for Honda in Britain said the company had recalled all 2002-2008 year model Jazz units in South Africa and will recall 172,000 units in Britain after a fire broke out in one last year, killing a toddler.

Honda said on its website it would “inspect and modify driver door power-window switches that may, in some cases, short circuit as a result of water intrusion.”

Vanilla Nurse was killed on her second birthday in Cape Town in September last year when the car she was sleeping in caught fire.

“There has been a recall to do with a window switch and 172,000 cars will be affected by the recall in the UK,” a Honda UK spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

“The recall will start toward the end of February. Now we will start talking to customers and dealers as to how we set up that recall.”

Honda UK said that water was entering the drivers’ window of its Jazz model and reaching a master power switch, potentially causing the switch to overheat and “potentially cause fire.”

“At the recall a waterproof skirt will be fitted to the window to avoid any damage,” the spokesman added.

Honda’s Jazz was its best-selling brand in South Africa in December, selling 352 units during the month.

Additional reporting by Rhys Jones in London; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Andrew Callus