Alleged cases of Honda-branded motorcycles igniting is firing up public opinion.
At least 10 Honda motorbikes bursted into flames in the year to date
A Honda Vietnam Company (HVN) source told VIR the Japanese motorcycle and automobile maker had sent two reports about Honda motorcycles recently bursting into flames and exploding to the Ministry of Transport’s Vietnam Register and the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Competition Management Department.
Earlier those state entities asked HVN to report them about the issue. “HVN is worried about the recent incidents. We are waiting for final conclusions of investigators [about the cases],” said the source. Since early this year, at least 10 Honda motorcycles branded Lead, SH, Air Blade, Spacy, Wave, CB400 and Dream bursted into fire.
The most shocking case came out on December 1, 2011 when a 29-year-old pregnant woman named Nguyen Thi Quynh was killed and her four-year-old daughter Nguyen Khanh Van was seriously injured when the motorcycle they were riding suddenly exploded in northern Bac Ninh province. Van died 12 days after the explosion due to multiple injuries.
The accident was said by witnesses to have happened right after Quynh left home on a Dream to bring Van to school. The explosion flung them off the bike which was bought in March, 2011.
The case has involved the Ministry of Police’s Criminal Science Institution which is working with the province’s Police Department on the case. “This is a serious case that has never happened before with Honda Vietnam products. Therefore, we are willing to cooperate with police to find out the root cause of this case as soon as possible,” said HVN’s general director Koji Onishi.
Vietnam Register vice head Do Huu Duc told VIR that Vietnam Register’s examinations of the quality of motorcycle and automobile production chains were launched “frequently.”
Some motorcycle engineers said the main cause of the above fatal case could be an electrical or fuel leakage, and that the explosion could stem from the motorcycle’s fuel tank. Meanwhile, owners of many motorcycle repairing workshops in Hanoi said the public had begun show their caution when using Honda-branded motorcycles.
They said the number of customers having their Honda-branded motorcycles checked had had sharply increased after this case. Vietnam Association for Consumers’ Benefit Protection’s vice general secretary Vuong Ngoc Tuan said if the explosion was caused by the motorcycle’s operations and details, HVN must take responsibility.
HVN sold 1.7 million motorcycles in this year’s first 11 months, occupying 64 per cent of motorcycles manufactured by five foreign firms in Vietnam. The firm early last week commenced construction on its 27 hectare third factory for manufacturing motorbikes and spare parts in northern Ha Nam province.
The $120 million factory is expected to become operational late next year. To employ nearly 2,000 people, the new factory will annually make 500,000 motorbikes, raising HVN’s total annual manufacturing capacity of 2.5 million units.
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