Toyota recalls 1.7 million vehicles in North America over potentially dangerous Takata airbags
- Takata front passenger airbag inflators, which have caused at least 23 deaths worldwide, can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers
- The recall includes multiple product lines including the 4Runner, Corolla, Matrix, and Lexus models
Toyota is recalling 1.7 million vehicles in North America to replace potentially deadly Takata front passenger airbag inflators.
The move announced on Wednesday includes 1.3 million vehicles in the US and is part of the largest series of vehicle recalls in the nation’s history.
Takata inflators can explode with too much force and hurl shrapnel into drivers and passengers. At least 23 people have been killed worldwide and hundreds have been injured.
The Toyota recall includes the 4Runner (2010 through 2016 models), the Corolla and Matrix (2010 through 2013 models), and the Sienna (2011 through 2014 models).
Also covered are Lexus models including the ES 350 (2010 through 2012 models), the GX 460 (2010 through 2017 models), the IS 250C and 350C (2010 through 2015 models), the IS 250 and 350 (2010 through 2013 models), and the IS-F (2010 through 2014 models). The Scion XB (2010 through 2015 models) are also included.
Takata used the chemical ammonium nitrate to create a small explosion to inflate the airbags. But the chemical can deteriorate over time due to high humidity and cycles from hot temperatures to cold. The most dangerous inflators are in areas of the South along the Gulf of Mexico that have high humidity.
Toyota and Lexus dealers will either replace the inflator or the entire airbag assembly with equipment made by other manufacturers that does not contain ammonium nitrate. Owners will be notified by mail or other means in late January.
Toyota wouldn’t say if anyone has been injured in vehicles covered by the latest recall.
Toyota’s recall is part of a phased-in replacement of Takata inflators. Car makers are scheduled to replace 10 million starting this month. Ford and Honda have already announced recalls.
The recalls forced Takata of Japan to seek bankruptcy protection and sell most of its assets to pay for the fixes.