If any automaker benefited from the crisis at Toyota, last year, it was Honda. Data suggests it was the only manufacturer to pick up a significant number of once-loyal Toyota owners during the industry giant’s problems with unintended acceleration and other safety-related issues.
But suddenly, it seems, Honda is having a spate of quality-related setbacks of its own – which could complicate matters as the company struggles through the effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown trifecta that have so far shut down its Japanese operations for nearly three weeks.
The latest problem: the recall of 2,800 Odyssey minivans because of a defect that can result in the front windows coming off their tracks, rendering them inoperable. It’s the second recall of the latest-generation Honda van in just two weeks, following the callback of 33,000 Odysseys due to faulty windshield wipers.
The latest numbers are small – though any safety-related issue involving family-oriented minivans can be problematic beyond the actual number of vehicles recalled. What’s especially significant is the fact that, according to data filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Honda had the third-highest number of vehicles involved in recalls of any automaker operating in the U.S. last year – and second-highest among Japanese — 2.4 million covered by 15 separate actions. (Nissan had 16 separate recalls but they involved just 2.1 million vehicles.)