Japanese airbag maker Takata Corporation’s quality problems have deepened this week, with Toyota issuing a recall for 6.5 lakh more vehicles in Japan, linked to airbags supplied by Takata. The latest recall expands the 2013 recall list involving a defective passenger seat airbag to a total of 2.79 million - of which, 3,10,000 units were sold in Japan and 1.83 million worldwide. The affected vehicles have a defective part, which “could cause the airbag inflator to rupture and deploy the airbag abnormally in a crash.”
The company said it hadn’t included these vehicles in the initial recall because the serial numbers provided by Takata didn’t include all of the potentially affected air bags. Toyota said it discovered the serial numbers were left out in late January, adding that it had taken since January to finish checking the list thoroughly. The problem was brought to Toyota’s notice, after the company received a report of a seat cover burn at the end of January.
Takata Corporation, the world’s number two manufacturer of auto safety equipment said that there could be more recalls from other automakers as well, because of problems tracking potential defects with airbag inflators that date back over a decade. The Tokyo-based auto supplier said it had discovered record-keeping errors at a plant in Mexico where potentially faulty airbag inflators were made in 2001 and 2002. In 2013, carmakers including Toyota, Honda, Nissan and BMW issued a recall of about 3.6 million vehicles because of faulty Takata airbags.
In a peculiar step, Toyota has instructed its dealers throughout the world to begin replacing the suspected Takata inflators on all vehicles covered by last year’s recall. Earlier, the company had asked its dealers to inspect the airbags and only replace those that were judged to be defective. “We have judged that is more certain to replace everything.” Toyota spokesperson Naoki Sumino said.