Toyota and Nissan are jointly recalling 6.5 million vehicles worldwide because of the defective airbag inflators manufactured by Takata.
In a statement sent to the Wall Street Journal, Toyota said it is recalling 5 million vehicles due to the faulty airbag inflators and will replace driver-side inflators with new components manufactured by Daicel. The passenger-side inflators will be replaced with Takata-made new parts because Toyota could not find compatible parts from other manufacturers.
Toyota's recall, which it said is purely investigative and is not linked to an incident, affects 1.36 million cars in Japan and 1.27 million cars in Europe. Another 637,000 cars are in the U.S., 18,000 in Canada, and the rest scattered all over the world. The recall affects Corolla, Vitz, and 33 other unnamed models manufactured between March 2003 and November 2007.
Toyota said the Takata airbag inflators are prone to deploying improperly when exposed to moisture over time, causing the inflator to rupture and send shrapnel flying across the inside of the car.
"Among the parts collected from the Japanese market, certain types of air bag inflators were found to have a potential for moisture intrusion over time," Toyota said. "As a result, they could be susceptible to abnormal deployment in a crash. The relationship of moisture intrusion, if any, to the risk of inflator rupture is not known."
Nissan is recalling 1.56 million vehicles also due to the faulty airbag inflators. Majority of these, or 563,000 cars, are found in Europe, 326,000 are in the U.S. and Canada, 288,000 in Japan, and 274,000 in China. Dion Corbett, a Nissan spokesperson, said the car maker has already begun notifying customers of the recall. No incidents are linked to the recall, Corbett noted.
Honda also told Reuters that it is also getting ready to file additional recalls related to Takata's airbag inflators but it does not specify which cars, model years, and regions will be affected.
The recalls are announced on top of the 25 million vehicles already called back by 10 automakers since 2008, after the Japanese car components manufacturer's faulty airbag inflators were confirmed to have caused six deaths, five in the U.S. and one in Malaysia, in Honda cars equipped with a Takata airbag inflator. Last month, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said at least 105 people have been injured by the flying metal pieces coming from the ruptured inflator.
Photo: Bejamin Goodger | Flickr