TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. said today it will replace Takata airbag inflators in 1.6 million cars in Japan that had previously been recalled after concluding that they may still be unsafe.
The decision was prompted after a passenger in a Nissan X-Trail SUV was injured last month when an airbag ruptured, despite the inflator having been checked in an earlier inspection. Nissan this month reissued recalls for around 310,000 vehicles in Japan due to the incident.
The Toyota Vitz compact car and 21 other models will be called back again after a previous recall prioritized the replacement of Takata airbag inflators based on whether dealers found air leaks, according to Masato Sahashi, a Japan transport ministry official. The initial recalls were conducted in May and June. Information on how this may affect recalls outside Japan was not immediately available.
Toyota is re-doing the recall after the inflator ruptured and injured a passenger in the Nissan X-Trail even after an inspection found no air leak. The Nissan incident and recall do-overs by Japan’s two biggest carmakers deepen a crisis for Takata that already involves almost 100 injuries and 19 million vehicles recalled in the U.S. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the U.S. this month ordered Takata to phase out a propellant used to inflate its airbags, citing a lack of confidence in its safety.
Rupturing Takata airbag inflators have killed eight motorists in Honda Motor Co. cars.
NHTSA’s order prompted customers Ford Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp., Honda, Toyota and Nissan to announce they won’t use Takata airbag inflators with ammonium nitrate propellant in cars under development.
President Shigehisa Takada acknowledged risk to the company’s survival during a press conference on Nov. 4.
Toyota is recalling about 12 million vehicles worldwide due to Takata airbags, the carmaker told NHTSA in July. Of the 98 injuries involving Takata airbag inflator ruptures in the U.S. through late last month, five were in Toyota vehicles, according to the agency.
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report