Honda is recalling 172,000 crossovers and luxury sedans due to a problem with the vehicles’ door latches that could cause a door to come flying open while driving.

The recall impacts two of the maker’s newest models, the redesigned 2012 CR-V crossover-utility vehicle and the all-new Acura ILX entry-luxury sedan. It’s the latest in a series of problems that Honda has had to deal with in recent months after the maker led the list in terms of individual recalls in 2011.

According to a statement from the company, “Simultaneous operation of the driver’s or passenger’s inner door handle and either the manual or power door lock may result in the inner door handle release cable becoming partially disengaged. When this occurs the door may not latch when closed and/or the door may latch and close, but then open when the door locks are operated; either case may result in the affected door opening unexpectedly.”
That could happen not just when the vehicle is standing still but also when it is in motion.
The recall covers 166,000 2012 model-year CR-Vs. The crossover is one of the mainstays of the Honda line-up and was completely redesigned last year. Also affected are 6,200 Acura ILXs, the entry-level sedan the maker has added for 2013.
Honda says that no accidents or injuries have yet been reported but federal law requires quick action when a potential safety issue is discovered by a manufacturer even if there have not been any specific problems reported by owners.

That may be a key factor in what some analysts are describing as a significant run-up in the number of recalls in recent months. Federal regulators who once allowed manufacturers to decide whether some safety-related issues might simply warrant repairs when reported by an owner have been cracking down in the wake of Toyota’s big safety scandal in 2009 and 2010.

Both makers, traditionally known for bulletproof quality and reliability, have seen a surge in recalls since then. As a result of some last-minute activity, Honda narrowly beat out Toyota to have the dubious honor of staging more recalls than any other automaker in 2011. It has announced more than a half-dozen additional recalls in 2012 for matters ranging from headlight problems to issues with the struts that hold up rear hatches and gas tank leaks.
The maker plans to notify owners of the latest door latch problem in the coming weeks. Repairs will be made at no charge.

[Story by Paul A. Eisenstein, The Detroit Bureau]

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