It’s a bad day for Japanese car manufacturers. Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda are recalling 3.4 million vehicles globally because of reported problems with front passenger-side airbags.
No injuries have been recorded up to now, though according to a Toyota spokesperson in the UK, five incidents worldwide have been reported. All the airbags at the center of the recall were made by Tokyo-based Takata, a firm specializing in safety components for automobiles.
Toyota issued a statement early Thursday explaining that the fault lies with the inflator inside the airbag.
“The involved vehicles are equipped with front passenger airbag inflators which could have been assembled with improperly manufactured propellant wafers,” the car maker said. “Improperly manufactured propellant wafers could cause the inflator to rupture and the front passenger airbag to deploy abnormally in the event of a crash.”
For Toyota, the recall will involve a total of 1.73 million vehicles, including around 580,000 in North America, 490,000 in Europe and 320,000 in Japan.
In the US, the recalled vehicles include “certain Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia, and Tundra, and Lexus SC 430 models manufactured from 2001 to 2003,” Toyota said.
Honda is reportedly calling in around 1.1 million vehicles worldwide, inlcuding 560,000 in the US (for car makes, see the update below), 270,000 in Japan and 64,000 in Europe.
Nissan is recalling almost half a million vehicles, though at the time of writing specific make and model information hasn’t been released by the car maker. Mazda is also yet to release detailed information.
Owners of affected vehicles should receive a recall notification in the mail in the next couple of months.
Mass production of a machine packed with so much technology means huge recalls like the one today are a regular part of life for car manufacturers. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not a major headache, with each one costing a company a huge amount of money as well as knocking its reputation. In the last four years alone, Toyota, for example, has had to recall around 15 million vehicles to sort out brake problems, sticking accelerator pedals, engine issues, fire risks, fuel leaks and non-functioning airbags.
[Update] Honda has announced in the US it’s recalling 426,000 model-year 2001-2003 Civic vehicles, approximately 43,000 CR-V vehicles from the 2002-2003 model years and approximately 92,000 model-year 2002 Odyssey vehicles. “It is possible that the passenger front airbag inflators in affected vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which may cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury,” the car maker said in a statement released Thursday. There’s been no official word from Nissan or Mazda as yet.