Honda Motor (HMC) said Tuesday it is recalling more than 400,000 vehicles to address consumer concern about brake pedal feel and location. The recall involves 344,000 Odyssey minivans and 68,000 Element small SUVs from 2007 and 2008 models years in response to driver complaints about brake pedals that feel soft or must be pushed closer to the floor to make the vehicles stop. Honda says the problem worsens with time but only affects some vehicles.
The problem is attributable to the vehicles' stability control system, Honda said, which can let in small amounts of air and affect the braking system. Though the problem doesn't occur in all models being recalled, the company is encouraging all owners to bring their vehicles in for dealer inspection.
The company will begin notifying customers at the end of April, Honda said. Owners can contact Honda at (800) 999-1009 or online at www.recalls.honda.com for further information.
Honda's action comes on the heels of several recalls from Japanese rival Toyota Motor (TM), which has recalled more than 8.5 million cars worldwide to address issues with unintended acceleration and unresponsive brakes. Toyota's quality woes have prompted federal investigations and congressional scrutiny. The company is also the subject of a flurry of class-action lawsuits and at least one civil action by a government agency. On Friday, the Orange County, Calif., district attorney's office filed the first consumer protection lawsuit against the world's largest auto maker because of continuing problems with its cars.
Toyota's quality woes, for which the company has repeatedly apologized, have taken a toll on sales. However, generous incentives that include zero-interest loans have helped Toyota resuscitate sales during the first week of March, according to analysis by car-buying guide Edmunds.com.
In February, Honda announced it was recalling more than 400,000 vehicles with faulty airbags that deployed too forcefully. The action raised the number of recalled Hondas with the problem to about 1 million worldwide.