Toyota Motor Corp yesterday said it was recalling a total of about 2.9mn vehicles in Japan, China, Oceania and other regions including its Corolla Axio sedan and RAV4 SUV crossover due to potentially faulty airbag inflators.
Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru cars, Mitsubishi Motors Corp and truck maker Hino Motors also recalled a total of about 240,000 vehicles in the domestic market over inflators made by Takata Corp which can explode after prolonged exposure to hot conditions.
At least 16 deaths have been linked to exploding Takata inflators, mainly in the United States, prompting the auto industry’s biggest-ever global recall.
Global transport authorities consider Takata inflators containing the chemical compound ammonium nitrate to be unsafe if used without a drying agent, and have ordered all of the about 100mn on the market to be withdrawn.
The Japanese automakers said that the latest recalls were part of a wider recall of Takata inflators ordered by global transport authorities last year.
Toyota said that recalls were issued for about 1.16mn vehicles sold in Oceania, the Middle East and the automaker’s smaller markets, nearly one-third of total, while about 750,000 vehicles had been recalled in Japan. Vehicles sold in North America, Toyota’s biggest market, were exempt from the latest recall, it added. Takata is currently seeking a financial sponsor to help pay for the costs related to the recalls.
Last month, it pleaded guilty to a US felony charge as part of a $1bn settlement over its faulty inflators.
Toyota is recalling almost 6000 cars in New Zealand because of concerns over how their airbags inflate.
The latest recall applies to 4313 Corolla and 1490 Yaris manufactured in 2009 due to issues with the inflator for the passenger side airbag, made by Japanese supplier Takata.
Takata’s defective airbag inflators have forced car makers to recall about 100 million vehicles globally.
In New Zealand, 41,066 new cars have now been recalled because of the passenger airbag, while 113,804 new and used cars have been affected around the world.
The car maker said no one had been injured by an airbag going off unnecessarily.
“Toyota New Zealand is not aware of any faulty deployments in Toyota or Lexus vehicles associated with the global airbag recall,” it said in a statement.
It also said it was working to secure replacement parts for the Takata airbags with the inflator to be replaced free of charge and taking 2.5 to 5 hours to install.
The car maker is also investigating how many second-hand imported car might be affected by the new recall.