Tokyo, Nov 25 (IANS) Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday reissued a recall for 1.61 million vehicles sold in Japan following the injury of a passenger in October after the rupture of an air bag inflator.
The recall notice was reissued on more than 20 Toyota models including the highly popular Vitz hatchback subcompact model that were produced between 2004 and 2008, Toyota said, following an initial recall being announced in May and June based on faulty Takata-made air bag inflators, Xinhua reported.
The faulty component in Takata’s air bag inflators were subsequently judged not to need replacing, compounded by a lack of stock, but following one of the company’s air bag inflators in a Nissan X-Trail SUV rupturing last month and injuring a passenger, the recall was reissued, the automaker said.
Toyota has made the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism here aware that it has issued a recall on 1,612,670 vehicles spanning some of its most popular models including the Corolla and Vitz models, the automaker said on Wednesday.
The recalled models will have the passenger side air bags replaced and should enough components not be available, as was the case previously, Toyota said it would temporarily disable the air bags’ functions till enough parts become available.
Takata, which also makes seat belts, has recalled more than 34 million air bag inflators in the US alone and more than 57 million globally, as at least eight people have been killed and 100 more injured by their air bags, which can reportedly explode with too much force and send lethal shrapnel flying into the vehicle.
In the US alone more than 19 million vehicles were recalled as a result of Takata’s faulty air bags and the possibility exists that millions more may be recalled in the future.
Toyota itself is recalling about 12 million vehicles worldwide due to Takata air bags and the world’s largest automaker has confirmed that at least five injuries in the US have occurred in Toyota models as a result of the faulty air bags.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) this month ordered Takata to phase out a propellant used to inflate its air bags, with the regulator saying it was not satisfied with its safety.
Following the NHTSA’s order, Japanese automakers including Mazda Motor Corp., Honda, Toyota and Nissan, as well as overseas brands like Ford Motor Co., have all announced they won’t be using Takata air bag inflators with the current propellant in cars that are under development.
Takata was fined $70 million earlier this month for knowingly concealing key evidence proving that its air bags were prone to explode. The NHTSA can raise the fine to $200 million if the embattled company fails to stick to its orders.
The Tokyo-based corporation that has production hubs on four continents saw losses in the second quarter total 8.66 billion yen ($70 million), owing to its faulty air bags, and the automotive parts maker slashed its full-year net income forecast by 25 percent to 5 billion yen.