Honda: Faulty Takata air bag kills 7th person in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Japanese carmaker Honda said Friday another person has died in Malaysia after a flawed Takata airbag inflator exploded, raising the number of deaths linked to the defect in the Southeast Asian country to seven.

Honda said in a statement that the driver was killed when the 2004 Honda City car crashed on May 27 in Kuala Lumpur. It was the second death this year after a Malaysian driver died in a crash on New Year's Day, also in a 2004 Honda City car.

Honda said the car in the latest incident was included in a 2015 recall to replace flawed air bags on the driver and passenger side but several letters sent to the original owner did not reach the new owner after the car was sold because the automaker's database had not been updated.

Honda said the passenger airbag inflator also ruptured but didn't say if it deployed properly.

"Honda records indicate that the recall replacement was never completed and the vehicle was not serviced in Honda authorized dealers," the statement said, No further details were immediately available.

The Malaysian fatality raised the global death toll linked to the defect to 23. It has also caused more than 180 injuries worldwide. Massive recalls affecting millions of vehicles have been issued around the world because of faulty air bag inflator and propellant devices that may deploy improperly in an accident, shooting out metal fragments that can injure or kill.

Last year, Takata pleaded guilty to fraud in a U.S. court and agreed to pay more than $1 billion (109 billion yen) in penalties for concealing the defect.

As of May 29, Honda Malaysia said it had replaced more than 224,000 front air bag inflators, or 85 percent of those needing to be changed.

The company appealed to owners of affected Honda vehicles to get their inflators repaired and to update any changes in ownership so that recall letters can reach current owners.

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