482,000 Toyota Prius, Lexus CT200h Hybrids Recalled for Curtain Airbags

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in

Toyota is recalling 482,000 hybrids in the U.S. to repair side-curtain airbags manufactured by the Swedish supplier Autoliv, the companies said on Wednesday.

On 2010–2012 Prius, 2010 and 2012 Prius Plug-in, and 2011–2012 Lexus CT200h models, the side-curtain airbags can partially inflate at random and the inflator can potentially “enter the interior of the vehicle,” which could injure occupants, according to a Toyota press release.

Autoliv said in a press release that it knows of seven inadvertent deployments in Prius models worldwide, all of which occurred in cars that were parked and unoccupied. Autoliv is investigating the root cause, but for now, the company believes no other automakers are affected by this problem since “vehicle specific characteristics” contributed to the issue. A manufacturing problem was corrected in January 2012, and the total number of cars under recall—about 1.4 million worldwide—represent half of all the side-curtain airbag inflators produced before that date, Autoliv said. A crack between the two inflator chambers can form over time due to poor welding, which can cause the two chambers to separate, Toyota said.

Dealers will install a retention bracket on the chambers to prevent them from separating and entering the interior. It is unknown whether there will be additional hardware or software fixes, as the airbags have deployed “without a deployment signal being given by the airbag controller,” according to Toyota. Recall notices will go out to owners at a later date.

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