A recall has been announced for over 6.5 million cars sold by Toyota and Nissan around the world for the replacement of possibly defective airbag inflators produced by Takata Corp. Toyota is recalling around 5 million Corolla, Vitz/Yaris and other models sold globally. Via an email, Toyota revealed that this recall affects 35 models, which include 1.36 million units in Japan, 1.27 million units in Europe, 637,000 units in the U.S. and 18,000 cars in Canada.
Gordon Trowbridge (spokesman for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) said that in the last few days, Toyota, Nissan, and Japanese government officials have been in contact with the U.S. safety agency. He said that very soon, the NHTSA will announce "significant new steps" related to accelerating the recalls of these Takata products.
He added that it’s not yet known what the root cause is for the defect but it’s clear that high humidity is a factor. This implies that time and moisture are factors involved in this issue. According to a Takata spokeswoman, an investigation has been started on what caused the airbag problems. She also said that the company is cooperating with the carmakers.
Toyota will use newly built parts from Daicel Corp. to replace the front driver-side airbag inflators covered in this recall. However, the replacements for front passenger-side airbag inflators will still be from Takata since compatible parts from a different supplier are not available. A Toyota spokeswoman clarified that this recall is purely for investigative purposes and that there have been no reports of injuries or accidents.
The recall covers cars that were produced from March 2003 to November 2007. Meanwhile, Nissan will recall around 1.56 million cars worldwide because of the same problem. It also states that there have been no reports of accidents or injuries. This recall covers 563,000 cars in Europe, 326,000 units in North America, 288,000 units in Japan and 274,000 units in China.
Nissan didn’t specify what models were affects. Nissan spokesman Dion Corbett said that notifications will start to be sent out to customers this June. The shrapnel from Takata airbags has been blamed for six deaths in Honda cars, with five from the U.S. and one from Malaysia. Last month, U.S. Senator Bill Nelson revealed that the defect has resulted to at least 105 injuries.
Honda has recently said that it will prepare to file more recalls related to this defect. No models or regions were mentioned. According to an American Honda spokesman, no additional actions are being considered by the company in the U.S. over this airbag matter.
Reuters has estimated that with the latest announcements from Nissan and Toyota, the number of vehicles affected by this recall around the world since 2008 totals to about 31 million units. Numerous class action lawsuits have been filed against Takata in the U.S. and Canada. Takata is also facing a U.S. criminal investigation and a regulatory probe.