Toyota, Honda, Nissan recall 3.4 million vehicles for faulty airbags

Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mazda have issued global recalls of 3.4 million vehicles for faulty airbags that come from a single supplier. The recalled airbags could deploy with too much force, potentially causing fires and endangering passengers. 

Heinz-Peter Bader
The steering wheel of a Toyota car containing an airbag in Vienna April 11, 2013. Four Japanese automakers including Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are recalling 3.4 million vehicles worldwide due to defective airbags supplied by Takata Corp.

Four Japanese auto brands – Nissan, Toyota, Honda, and Mazda – have issued a recall of 3.4 million vehicles due to an airbag glitch. The faulty airbags all come from the same supplier, the Japanese safety gear manufacturer Takata. 

Some non-Japanese automakers also use the recalled airbags, but Takata hasn’t named them. It’s the largest product recall ever for the company, and the first major recall since 1995.

The recall affects passenger-side airbags manufactured at the company’s Mexico plant between 2000 and 2002. All of the vehicles involved thus far were manufactured between 2000 and 2004.

“The involved vehicles are equipped with front passenger airbag inflators which could have been assembled with improperly manufactured propellant wafers,” Toyota USA said in a statement on the recalls section of the automaker’s website. “Improperly manufactured propellant wafers could cause the inflator to rupture and the front passenger airbag to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash.”

The airbags could deploy with too much force, starting fires or sending debris flying toward passengers.

Below are the specifics for each automaker:

Toyota:

Toyota is recalling 1.73 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles worldwide and 170,000 vehicles in the United States, including Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia, and Tundra, and Lexus SC 430 models manufactured between 2001 and 2003. Per the Toyota press release, the automaker may have to investigate 510,000 additional vehicles for faulty inflators.

“Owners of vehicles subject to this safety recall will receive an owner notification letter by first class mail,” Toyota's statement reads.  “The recall remedy will involve inspection of the front passenger air bag, and, if it is equipped with an affected inflator, the inflator will be replaced with a newly manufactured one at no charge to the owner.”

The company is also recalling 490,000 cars in Europe and 320,000 in Japan.

For more information, visit www.toyota.com/recall, or call the Toyota customer line at 1 800 331-4331.

Honda:

Honda will recall 1.14 vehicles worldwide and 561,000 in the United States, including 43,000 CR-Vs manufactured between 2002 and 2003, 426,000 Civics manufactured between 2001 and 2003, and 92,000 2002 Odyssey minivans. Honda will notify affected customers via email in late May. Honda owners can determine if their cars need a repair before then by visiting www.recalls.honda.com, or by calling (800) 999-1009 and selecting option 4.

Nissan

Nissan is recalling 480,000 vehicles worldwide for the problem, including 137,000 vehicles in Japan. No specifics have been provided yet on the remaining 343,000 vehicles, sold overseas in North America and Europe. Affected models include Cube, X-Trail, Maxima and Teana, manufactured between August 2000 and January 2004.

Mazda

Mazda’s share of the recall is much smaller, involving 45,000 RX-8 and Mazda 6 vehicles and 4,000 cars in Japan. Recalls will soon be announced in North America, Europe, and China, according to AP.

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