Honda is to expand a recall by nearly 379 000 vehicles in the US to replace a crash-bag deflator that could rupture and send metal shards toward the driver during an accident.

The problem had been linked to one death and 11 injuries.

Honda first announced the recall in November 2008 then broadened it in July 2009. In total, about 826 000 vehicles are affected by the US recalls.

The latest expansion of the recall applies to 2001 and 2002 model-year Accord, Civic, Odyssey, CR-V, and 2002 Acura TL vehicles.

Honda said an additional announcement would come from Japan that would detail the steps it is taking in other markets and in conjunction with Japanese regulators.

Honda SA, however, says the recall applies only to US, Canadian and Japanese-specification models and that South African customers' cars, which are sourced from Europe, are not affected.

The move comes at a time when Honda's bigger rival, Toyota, is under intense scrutiny from US safety regulators and is undertaking the biggest recall in its history as well as facing criticism that it was slow to respond to safety issues.

Honda said it brought the safety issue to the attention of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and had notified regulators of the decision to include additional vehicles in its recall.

Honda said it had received no further reports of incidents of the bag malfunction since broadening the recall the first time in July 2009.

The NHTSA contacted Honda in August 2009 as part of a review into whether the automaker had acted in a timely way in announcing its broadened recall.

John Mendel, Honda's US chief, told reporters on a conference call that the NHTSA review had not been concluded.

Honda said it had found that crash-bag inflators could deploy with too much force, causing the inflator casing to rupture. The issue was that the propellant in the bags was subject to deterioration.

Those in the Hondas under recall were made by Takata Corporation, Mendel said. That company could not immediately reached for comment. - Reuters