Honda Fit Recall Issued After Death Reported: Risk of Fire

About 646,000 Honda Fit sub-compacts have been recalled, including 141,000 sold in the United States, after a 2-year-old was killed in a car fire in South Africa that is being blamed on the vehicle’s power window system.

The worldwide Honda Fit recall was announced late last week for the 2007-2008 models. The car, known as the Honda Jazz and Honda City in Europe, Africa and Asia, has a malfunctioning power window switch which can overheat when it comes in contact with a large amount of liquid, such as a heavy rainfall.

The switch defect led to a car fire and the death of 2-year-old Vanilla Nurse in Cape Town, South Africa last year. There have been no other injuries or deaths reported in association with the defect.

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Honda Motor Co. suggested in a statement Friday that the problem could be linked to water, rain or other liquids entered the driver’s side window and reached the master power window switch. “An overheating switch may cause smoke, melting or potentially, fire,” the statement warned.

The Honda Fit is built in Brazil, China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Thailand. The largest number of the vehicles have been sold in Latin America, which has 229,000 Honda Fits on the road. There are 171,372 in the U.K, where it is known as the Honda Jazz, and there are 141,140 in the U.S. The rest are scattered around the world.

There has been no official recall release from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), and owners have been recommended to keep the windows rolled up in rain or snow until they receive an official recall notice. The 2009-2010 model year Honda Fits are not affected by the recall.

Photo courtesy of IFCAR at http://commons.wikimedia.org/

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