A Honda recall of 2.5 million cars (some 1.5 million in the U.S.) will affect small SUVs and minivans worldwide, including its popular Accord sedan, to repair a software problem that could damage the automatic transmission.
Honda's recall includes 1.5 million vehicles in the United States, about 760,000 in China and 135,142 in Canada, the automaker said on Friday. This week, Consumer Reports said it was not recommending the 2012 Honda Civic. This led some industry analysts to ask if that was a symptom of larger problems at the automaker, Reuters reports.
The company has said it disagreed with the influential U.S. consumer advocate's assessment.
Chris Martin, Honda spokesman at the company's U.S. headquarters in California, said on Friday the recall was not a sign of deeper difficulties, but instead stemmed from "extremely unusual circumstances."
"The far majority of our consumers would never really encounter this," he told Reuters. "It's software programming. It's not a weakness in the transmission per se."
Jesse Toprak, an analyst with TrueCar.com, said Honda should easily recover from the massive recall.
"The actual problem and the potential consequences of it are really not significant," said Toprak. "It can affect the performance of your transmission only if you are stuck in mud or snow and you are rocking back and forth very quickly between gears, and the transmission software can't keep up and you can potentially damage the transmission."
He said that, after Toyota recalled more than 14 million vehicles worldwide starting in 2009, "automakers have been so paranoid" about explaining a recall. Before the Toyota recalls, Toprak said automakers tried to hide recalls by fixing any problem with internal bulletins to auto dealer service departments.
Time will tell if this Honda recall will affect sales in the U.S. Through July, Honda auto sales were down 2.6 percent in the U.S. market, in large part because of the supply crisis caused by the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan.