Six automakers, including Toyota, Honda and Nissan, are recalling nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide because of defective air bags that can send shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment.
The recall mainly affects cars sold by Japanese automakers in North America, Europe and Japan. A small number of cars made by Germany’s BMW AG and General Motors Co. also are involved.
The front passenger air bags all were made by the same parts supplier, Japan’s Takata Corp. They have faulty inflator mechanisms that don’t route gas into the air bags. Instead, the high-pressure gas can launch plastic and metal parts from the air bags into the cars’ passenger areas. Takata says no one has been hurt, but there have been six incidents of the air bags deploying improperly on roadways.
The recall, announced Thursday in Japan, is so large because many automakers use common parts on multiple models to cut costs and simplify manufacturing.
The recall will bring a great deal of unwelcome publicity for automakers, especially Toyota Motor Corp., said IHS Automotive analyst Paul Newton. The world’s top-selling car company is trying to rebuild a reputation for quality that was hurt by previous big recalls.
Toyota models affected include the Corolla compact, Matrix hatchback, Sequoia SUV, and Tundra pickup, as well as the Lexus SC 430 sports car. All the vehicles were manufactured from 2001 to 2003.
Honda Motor Co. is recalling 1.1 million vehicles worldwide, including the Civic compact, CR-V small SUV and Odyssey minivan from the 2001 to 2003 model years.
Also, Nissan Motor Co. is recalling the Maxima midsize sedan, Pathfinder SUV and Sentra compact as well as the Infiniti FX crossover and QX4 SUV, all from the 2001-2003 model years.
About 45,000 Mazda RX-8 and Mazda 6 cars are affected, including 4,000 in Japan. The company said recalls will be announced in North America, Europe, China and elsewhere.
At GM, 55,000 2003 Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks sold in the U.S. and Canada are being recalled.