In a statement the carmaker said the potentially defective air bag inflators could rupture, "resulting in metal fragments passing through the airbag cushion material and possibly causing injury or fatality to vehicle occupants".

Fatality

The company said it had been alerted to 12 incidents involving the defect, including one fatality, but added that there had been no new reports since last year.

Honda's announcement comes at a time of increased attention on car recalls [EPA]

The expanded recall covers models made in 2001 and 2002 of the Honda Accord, Civic, TL, CR-V, Odyssey, Pilot and CL in North America and the Inspire, Saber and Lagreat models sold in Japan.

"We have concluded that we cannot be completely certain that the driver's airbag inflator in the vehicles being added to the recall at this time will perform as designed," Honda said.

The company has said it will replace the driver's side airbag inflator on the cars.

Honda's latest recall is the third the company has made over the airbag problem since it first went public on the matter in November 2008.

The company's announcement comes at a time of increased attention on vehicle recalls - particularly those affecting Japanese carmakers.

On Tuesday, Toyota said it would recall more than 440,000 of the 2010 model of its flagship Prius and other hybrid cars due to a braking glitch.