Toyota recalls another 1.3 million vehicles in U.S. over Takata airbags

Toyota announced on Wednesday it’s recalling another 1.7 million vehicles globally as part of the ongoing Takata airbag replacement program. Around 1.3 million of the vehicles are in the U.S.

The largest multi-automaker recall in history started in 2009 after it was discovered that Takata’s airbag inflators could degrade over time and, if activated, spray sharp metal fragments toward the vehicle’s occupants, causing injury or even death.

Toyota’s latest recall involves vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2015, and includes various Lexus models, as well as Sienna, Corolla, Matrix, Scion XB, and 4Runner vehicles. Specific details regarding the automobiles involved in the recall can be found on this Toyota webpage.

The Japanese car giant says affected owners will receive direct notification of the recall by first-class mail “or other means” starting in late January 2019. The work will be carried out free of charge and should take around an hour to complete for most vehicles.

“Depending on the vehicle model, Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace either the front passenger airbag inflator or airbag assembly,” the company said on Wednesday.

Most complex vehicle recall in U.S. history

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has described the Takata recall as “the largest and most complex vehicle recall in U.S. history.” Tens of millions of vehicles made by 19 different automakers are involved, with American car companies currently in the process of adding some 10 million Takata airbags to the recall list. In recent days, Ford, for example, announced it was calling in nearly a million of its vehicles globally to replace potentially defective airbags made by the now-defunct company.

The propellant that makes Takata airbags inflate can degrade over time, and in the U.S. such degradation is likely to occur more quickly in locations that experience high temperature fluctuation and high absolute humidity. When activated, a faulty airbag could spray metal fragments directly at the driver and passengers, causing severe injuries or worse. The NHTSA has confirmed that 15 people in the U.S. have been killed following the activation of a defective Takata airbag, with another eight deaths around the world linked to the fault. In addition, at least 250 people in the U.S. have allegedly been injured by exploding Takata airbags.

The NHTSA expects that a total of around 70 million defective Takata airbag inflators will have been recalled by 19 automakers by the end of 2019, with around 17 million still in need of replacement.

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