Toyota, Nissan recall 6.5 mln cars over exploding airbag fears

Toyota, Nissan recall 6.5 mln cars over exploding airbag fears

Kenny Awotorebo

Toyota and rival Nissan on Wednesday announced the recall of about 6.5 million vehicles globally in the latest chapter of an exploding airbag crisis linked to at least five deaths.

The world’s biggest automaker said its recall of five million vehicles affected 35 models globally produced between March 2003 to November 2007, while Nissan said its recall of 1.56 million vehicles worldwide was also due to faulty airbags made by embattled supplier Takata.

“This will affect many of our markets, including Japan, Europe and North America,” a Nissan spokesman told AFP, adding that the explosion risk was among a range of problems seen in the defective airbags.

“There might be many factors. (But) we have seen risks that the metal casing for inflators can malfunction.”

Nissan’s recall affects a range of models produced between 2004 and 2008.

Both automakers said there were no reports of deaths or injuries linked to their latest airbag-linked recall.

The announcement comes after about 20 million vehicles produced by major automakers, including General Motors and Honda, were recalled because of the risk that their Takata-made airbags could improperly inflate and rupture, potentially firing deadly shrapnel at the occupants.

At least five deaths have been linked to the defect, with one US woman’s death intially investigated as a murder due to her grisly injuries.

The scandal has seen Japan-based Takata — one of the world’s biggest airbag suppliers — hit with lawsuits and regulatory probes.

Toyota said the latest recall affects 1.35 million vehicles sold in Japan, 637,000 sold in the United States and 1.26 million in Europe.

“We have been conducting various ongoing investigations regarding Takata-produced airbag inflators,” it said in an email.

“Among the parts collected from the Japanese market, certain types of airbag inflators were found to have a potential for moisture intrusion over time. As a result, they could be susceptible to abnormal deployment in a crash.”

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