Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi combined will recall more than three million vehicles dating to 2000 and for an often-repeated, recent-year auto industry woe — defected safety equipment. The latest crisis involves airbag inflators made by Takata, the Japanese safety gear producer.
Takata made the products from 2000 to 2002. It’s the biggest recall involving Takata since 1995, when several automakers called back a then-record almost nine million vehicles to replace faulty seat belts made by the Japanese company.
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“It looks like the cost of the recalls may be pretty big,” Satoru Takada, a Tokyo-based analyst at Toward the Infinite World Inc., referring to Takata, told Reuters. “It doesn’t seem like something that would be easy to identify and fix. But if the cause is clear, it shouldn’t have a lasting effect.”
Honda said it was not aware of any injuries related to the defect, which involves the inflaters on passenger-side air bags. But late in 2011, Honda acknowledged 18 injuries and two deaths linked to two million vehicles recalled because of the problem with the driver’s air bag.
Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, told the New York Times via emai the passenger-side air bag deploys differently. Instead of sending metal fragments directly at the driver, the passenger’s air bag “could propel metal fragments upward toward the windshield or downward toward the front passenger’s footwell.”
An estimated 48,000 2003 Pontiac Vibes, which is a mechanical sibling of the Toyota Matrix, will be recalled, a G.M. spokesman, Alan Adler, wrote in an e-mail.
Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said 170,000 of the company’s vehicles would need a repair, but it has to inspect 510,000 vehicles to find them. The models are the 2001-3 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra, and Lexus SC 430.
The Hondas being recalled are 43,000 2002-3 CR-V models; 426,000 2001-3 Civics; and 92,000 2002 Odyssey minivans. The Mazdas are the 2003-4 Mazda 6 and 2004 RX-8.
The Nissans being recalled are the 2001-3 Nissan Maxima, Infiniti FX, Infiniti QX4, Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Sentra