Largest Air Bag Recall Affects 4 Japanese Carmakers

- April 11, 2013

In the largest air bag recall ever, Japan­ese automak­ers Hon­da, Maz­da, Nis­san and Toy­ota are recall­ing 3.4 mil­lion vehi­cles sold world­wide.

Get the details on airbags sold by one sup­pli­er.

Four Japan­ese automak­ers includ­ing Toy­ota Motor Corp, and Nis­san Motor Co are recall­ing 3.4 mil­lion vehi­cles sold around the world because airbags sup­plied by Taka­ta Corp are at risk of catch­ing fire or injur­ing pas­sen­gers.

The move announced on Thurs­day is the largest recall ever for airbags made by Taka­ta, the world’s sec­ond largest sup­pli­er of airbags and seat­belts. Shares of Taka­ta tum­bled almost 10 per­cent in Tokyo trad­ing.

The recall is the largest since Toy­ota pulled back more than 7 mil­lion vehi­cles in Octo­ber. The scale of the recent safe­ty actions under­score the risk of huge glob­al sup­ply chain prob­lems as automak­ers increas­ing­ly rely on a hand­ful of sup­pli­ers for com­mon or sim­i­lar parts to cut costs, ana­lysts have said.

The recall cov­ers some of the top-sell­ing Japan­ese cars, includ­ing Toyota’s Cam­ry and Corol­la, and rivals like the Nis­san Max­i­ma and Hon­da Civic. All of the vehi­cles in ques­tion were man­u­fac­tured in or after 2000.

In an acci­dent, the airbag for the front pas­sen­ger seat may not inflate cor­rect­ly because of a man­u­fac­tur­ing defect in the pro­pel­lant used in the airbag infla­tor, the com­pa­nies said. As a result, there is a risk of fires start­ing or of pas­sen­gers being injured.

Toy­ota, Hon­da and Nis­san said there were no reports of injuries or deaths because of the defec­tive airbags.

The recall is the largest for Taka­ta since 1995 when the Tokyo-based com­pa­ny was involved in a recall of over 8 mil­lion vehi­cles because of defec­tive seat­belts.

Tokyo-based Taka­ta said it sup­plies airbags and seat­belts to major automak­ers includ­ing Daim­ler AG and Ford Motor Co as well as the Japan­ese brands.

Some non-Japan­ese automak­ers were also sup­plied with the faulty airbags, Taka­ta spokesman Toy­ohi­ro Hishikawa said. He declined to name those automak­ers.

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