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Continental recalls air bag controls in 5 million vehicles

Continental recalls air bag controls in 5 million vehicles
Honda is recalling somemodel-year 2008-2010 Accord vehicles that have faultyair bag control units manufactured by Continental Automotive Systems Inc. Above, a2008 Honda Accord coupe is driven off the assembly line. (Paul Vernon / Associated Press)

Continental Automotive Systems Inc. is recalling potentially faulty air bag control units that were installed in up to 5 million vehicles worldwide.

In documents posted Thursday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Continental said the air bag control units have a power supply component that could corrode and prevent the air bags from deploying or cause inadvertent inflation.

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The air bag control units were made from 2006 through 2010.

Fewer than 2 million vehicles in the U.S. are affected, said Continental, a division of Germany-based Continental AG.

Continental said it would notify automakers that installed these air bag control units in their vehicles. Those manufacturers are to notify customers and replace the units.

American Honda Motor Co., Fiat Chrysler and Mercedes-Benz already have issued some recalls. Mazda, Volkswagen Group of America and Volvo Trucks North America also bought affected units, the recall notice says. So did Kia Motors, which does not have affected vehicles in the U.S.

Honda said it received 1,575 warranty claims, 83 field reports and two confirmed injuries related to this recall as of October. Its recall affects up to 341,444 vehicles. Fiat Chrysler's recall affects 112,001 vehicles; Mercedes-Benz's involves 126,260.

The Continental air bag control unit recall is separate from the extensive Takata air bag recall, which includes about 19 million vehicles in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. Some estimates are even higher. On Wednesday, Honda issued a recall for 2.23 million vehicles with potentially faulty Takata air bags.

Analysts said the two air bag recalls are not comparable, especially because Continental has a smaller market share than Takata, and Continental's recall affects far fewer vehicles.

"I would classify this as a more traditional recall," said Rebecca Lindland, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. "I think comparisons [to Takata] are a little unfair to Continental."

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