Honda has launched a nationwide advertising campaign to spread awareness regarding potentially fatal defective airbags, with the campaign looking to urge owners to take their vehicles back to dealers for the required repairs.
The Japanese automobile manufacturer will be spending several millions of dollars on advertisements to be released across 120 newspapers, along with 30-second radio spots, in a total of 110 markets. In addition, Honda will sponsor customized Facebook advertisements that will show up in the timelines of users.
The advertisements, slated to begin their run next week, will come in both English and Spanish.
Since 2008, Honda has issued a recall order for around 6.2 million vehicles in the United States due to the defective airbags manufactured by Takata. When the defective airbags are inflated, they may explode due to too much force, which would send shrapnel towards the driver and passengers of the vehicle.
Including Honda, 10 car companies have issued recall orders affecting 22 million cars from all over the world for the replacement of the inflators of the Takata airbags. A total of six fatalities have been connected to the issue.
According to Chris Martin, a spokesman for Honda, the advertising campaign is the first instance that the car company is reaching out to vehicle owners through a media campaign. The advertisements clarify that the fixes for the affected vehicles are free, and that if the repair takes time, Honda will be loaning out cars that customers can use in the meantime.
"Almost everyone knows someone who owns a Honda," one print advertisement says, urging people to tell their Honda owner friends to have their vehicles repaired. "We care about your safety, so please take action immediately."
The advertisements will have a focus on the 11 warm weather states and the United States territories that Honda has identified to have the greatest risks from the potentially fatal malfunction.
According to Honda, out of the 8 million identified defective inflators in the United States, only 1.1 million have been replaced, which is just 14 percent.
Overall, the 10 car companies revealed that only 2 million of the defective inflators have been replaced, out of the 17 million vehicles affected, which is just 12 percent.
"That's just not acceptable," said Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. "Progress has been painfully slow."
According to Martin, Honda's dealers are "currently completing recall repairs on a daily basis utilizing available parts supplies with some limited delays for parts on order," blaming the slow progress on the limited availability of replacement parts.