TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it would recall 57,000 vehicles globally to replace potentially deadly air bags made by Takata Corp, as a safety crisis around the Japanese auto parts maker looks far from being contained.
Toyota’s action follows a recall by rival Honda Motor Co for the same problem two weeks ago after revelations of a fifth death, in Malaysia, linked to Takata’s air bag inflator. More than 16 million vehicles have been recalled worldwide since 2008 over Takata’s air bag inflators, which can explode with too much force and spray metal fragments into the car.
Toyota is recalling some Vitz subcompacts, called Yaris in some markets, and RAV4 crossover models made between December 2002 and March 2004. About 40,000 are in Japan, 6,000 in Europe and the rest in other markets outside North America. Toyota said it was not aware of any injury or death related to the recall.
Separately, Toyota’s small-car subsidiary Daihatsu Motor Co also issued a recall, in Japan, of 27,571 Mira minivehicles produced between December 2002 and May 2003 for the same reason – its first recall involving Takata inflators.
About 2.6 million vehicles have been recalled in Japan so far for Takata’s air bag inflators, a transport ministry official said.
Takata-related recalls are almost certain to balloon after US safety regulators on Wednesday ordered the company to expand a regional recall of driver-side air bags to cover the entire United States, not just hot and humid areas where the air bag inflators are thought to become more volatile.
Takata has so far resisted expanding the recall, saying that could divert replacement parts away from the high-humidity regions that need them most.