Honda Recalls 646,000 Cars for Fire Hazard

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It hasn't been a great week for Japanese automakers.

Fresh on the heels of Toyota temporarily halting sales of eight models over concerns about accelerator pedals sticking, Honda announced Friday a voluntary recall of 646,000 cars worldwide to examine window swtiches that can melt or catch fire when exposed to an extreme amount of liquid.

The only model affected by Honda's action is the 2007-2008 Fit subcompact, 141,140 of which have been sold in the United States.

The problem stems from a master power window switch on the driver's side that needs to be replaced or retrofitted with a waterproof skirt. There have been seven reported cases of the part melting in the U.S., two involving fire. A Honda spokesperson tells that no injuries have been linked to the defect at this time.

Honda's action comes in the wake of Toyota's recall of over 4.2 million vehicles worldwide stemming from a faulty accelerator pedal assembly that could become stuck and cause unintended acceleration.

That recall affects certain 2009-2010 RAV4s, certain 2009-2010 Corollas, 2009-2010 Matrixes, 2005-2010 Avalons, certain 2007-2010 Camrys, certain 2010 Highlanders, 2007-2010 Tundras and 2008-2010 Sequoias.

Toyota has come under extreme public scrutiny for its handling of the situation, as it initially continued manufacturing and selling affected models even after the recall was announced. Then on Tuesday, Toyota halted the production and sale of eight models in North America, including the popular Camry and Corolla, while redesigned parts are produced and distributed to factories and dealers. To date,Toyota says that no accidents have been linked to the problem.

A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the matter has been scheduled for February 4th entitled "Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public at Risk?" A Feb. 25 hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee has also been scheduled.

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