Newspaper article International New York Times

Faulty Air Bag Part Prompts Large Toyota Recall ; U.S. Regulator Is Looking into Other Automakers That Used Same Supplier

Newspaper article International New York Times

Faulty Air Bag Part Prompts Large Toyota Recall ; U.S. Regulator Is Looking into Other Automakers That Used Same Supplier

Article excerpt

Takata, the part maker, failed to keep adequate quality-control records, making it difficult to identify vehicles with potentially defective air bags.

As a safety problem widens at one of the world's largest auto suppliers, 2.3 million Toyota vehicles are being recalled worldwide because a defective air bag component made by Takata Corporation could injure passengers.

And the problem could grow worse as more automakers are forced to recall millions of other vehicles.

Soon after Toyota's announcement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States said it was opening an investigation into the other automakers that used parts made by Takata to see if those companies' vehicles should be recalled, too.

The recall Wednesday, which includes 766,000 vehicles in the United States, is the second vehicle recall that Toyota has made because a defective inflator for the passenger-side air bag could crack, possibly sending metal fragments into the compartment or causing "thermal damage" to the instrument panel.

The first recall for the problem came in April 2013, when Toyota said that 170,000 cars in the United States had the defective component but that all of the vehicles needed to be inspected to find the faulty ones. Over all, about 3.3 million vehicles worldwide were involved in that recall, including about 1.7 million Toyotas, 1.1 million Hondas, 480,000 Nissans and 20,000 Mazdas.

But Takata failed to keep adequate quality-control records, making it difficult to identify vehicles with potentially defective air bags. Toyota will now replace the part in all of them. It said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths associated with the defect.

Takata has informed other automakers of possible defects in their air bags, which were made over a decade ago at a plant in Mexico, but the decision on whether to recall the vehicles is up to those automakers, a company spokesman, Toyohiro Hishikawa, said by telephone early Thursday in Tokyo.

The recall Wednesday is only the latest in a string of troubles for Takata. …

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