Toyota today (Wednesday) announced that it would recall an additional 332,200 models equipped with faulty Takata-made airbag inflators.
The ever-expanding Takata airbag inflator crisis grew again today as Toyota announced that it would recall an additional 331,200 vehicles, equipped with the potentially faulty safety devices. The latest action pushes the number of Toyotas recalled for faulty airbag parts to more than 15 million worldwide. More than 3 million are in the United States.
Toyota’s action follows a decision last month by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that added 5 million vehicles to the number cars and trucks recalled so far in the Takata crisis. At that time, the safety agency increased the number of airbag inflators under recall from 24 to 29 million and the number of vehicles facing recall to 24 million. The agency is also under pressure to increase the number of inflators substantially beyond the 29 million. Recently, a wire service report by Reuters estimated that between 70 and 90 million inflators will have been recalled when the crisis abates. Using the same ratio of cars to airbags, it means that as many as 75 million cars may ultimately face recall worldwide over potentially faulty Takata airbag inflators.
At the heart of the enormous – record-shattering – safety recall is the type of propellant used by Takata so that its airbags deploy quickly enough to protect vehicle occupants. Probers looking into the issue have found that deterioration of the ammonium nitrate fuel causes the force of the deployment to increase dramatically, shattering the inflator housing. In turn, the metal pieces turn into shrapnel that scythes through the passenger compartment, often with fatal effect. So far, at least 10 fatalities and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the potentially faulty devices.
Today’s Toyota recall affects vehicles equipped with the potentially defective dual-stage front passenger side airbag inflators. The vehicles involved include:
- 2008-2010 Corolla models
- 2008-2010 Corolla Matrix models
- 2008-2010 Lexus SC430 models
- 2007-2010 Avensis models
Toyota indicated that market most impacted by the recall is North America where 231,000 vehicles are registered, followed by Europe with 86,000 vehicles. Another 3,000 vehicles are located in Japan, and 220 are situated in Asia, as well as 11,000 cars that are found “elsewhere.”