[DETROIT] US safety regulators on Wednesday ordered Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co to provide documents and answer questions under oath related to the government's ongoing probe of potentially defective air bags installed in millions of recalled US vehicles.
The air bags were made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp , which received a similar order last Thursday from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NHTSA is seeking all internal Honda communications related to Takata air bag inflators, as well any field reports, warranty claims and pre-suit legal claims, incidents and lawsuits related to the issue.
NHTSA also is asking Honda whether it sent any employees to visit Takata plants in the United States or Mexico starting in 2000.
Honda was ordered to deliver the documents by December 15.
NHTSA Chief Counsel Kevin Vincent issued an earlier special order on Monday to Honda, as part of an investigation to determine whether the automaker failed to fully report accident-related deaths and injuries as required by U.S. law.
Spokespersons for Honda and Takata were not immediately available for comment.
For the past 18 months, Takata has been besieged by chronic, widespread problems with defective inflators in its air bags, which can explode with excessive force and spray metal shards into vehicle occupants.
Since 2008, 10 global vehicle manufacturers that use Takata air bags have recalled more than 11 million cars in the United States and more than 17 million worldwide to replace inflators that have been linked to at least four deaths and numerous serious injuries.