By Mark Kleis
Thursday, Mar 3rd, 2011 @ 4:20 pm
 
Ford, Mazda and now Honda have announced recalls this week - each for very different reasons ranging from dangerous to just downright bizarre - but the latest recall by Honda poses a threat to all automakers who sell hybrids.

A major hurdle faced by automakers who sell hybrid or electric vehicles is the customer perception that hybrids and electric cars rely on unproven and overly complicated technology that is prone to failure and expensive to fix. As a result, when an automaker is forced to recall a hybrid/electric vehicles, the image damage can be felt across the industry in a way that is unique when compared to traditional recalls that tend to only tarnish the brand from which the vehicle in question was manufactured by.

Unfortunately, this is one of those cases in which the recall does include a key component of the hybrid drivetrain, the DC-to-DC converter, which is part of the Integrated Motor Assist hybrid control system on the 2006 and 2007 model year Civic Hybrid sedan. Honda says that the converter may experience an internal failure that can cause the vehicle to stall, and the headlights to fail.

To date, there have been no known crashes or injuries as a result of the problem.

Honda will officially begin sending notices to the 36,656 affected customers on March 18, and begin the repairs from that point.