BUSINESS

More vehicles recalled for problem Takata air bag inflators that can deploy abnormally

05/13/2015 04:38 EDT | Updated 05/12/2016 05:59 EDT
Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. are expanding their recalls over problem air bags made by Japanese supplier Takata Corp. by another 6.5 million vehicles, including about 81,500 in Canada.

Toyota said Wednesday it was recalling nearly five million more vehicles globally to fix an air bag inflator problem while Nissan is recalling an additional 1.56 million vehicles globally for problems related to its Takata inflators.

Most of Toyota Canada's recall involves RAV4s from the 2004 and 2005 model years. It's recalling 14,570 RAV4s as well as 3,803 Tundras and 606 Sequoias from the 2003-04 model year.

Nissan Canada's recall affects a total of 62,538 Pathfinder, Sentra and X-trail vehicles produced between January 2004 and March 2007.

Nissan says that in some areas of high humidity, such as the U.S. Gulf Coast region, the passenger side air bag inflators have already been recalled and will be replaced without testing. In other cases, Nissan dealers will test the inflators and replace them as necessary.

Tokyo-based Honda and its Canadian subsidiary, which have previously recalled vehicles because of Takata air bag problems, said Wednesday there hadn't been a decision yet about expanding their recalls.

Even before the latest recalls, 10 automakers recalled more than 17 million cars and trucks in the U.S. and 22 million worldwide because of the Takata air bag problem.

The Takata air bag problems began surfacing about a decade ago. Takata uses a different kind of inflator propellant from rivals, ammonium nitrate, which can burn too fast if subjected to prolonged exposure to airborne moisture.

In Toyota's latest recall, the company says the front passenger and front driver-side air bag inflators can deploy abnormally, or rupture, and put a person in a crash at greater risk.

This is different from an earlier problem with Takata air bag inflators that deployed with too much force, which has affected a range of automakers including Honda Motor Co., Chrysler, BMW and Ford Motor Co. At least six people have died worldwide due to that defect.NHTSA, the government authority in the U.S., which oversees recall, as well as Takata and the auto industry, have been trying to pinpoint what's causing the inflator problems.

Takata has been fined US$14,000 per day by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since Feb. 20 for allegedly dumping documents on the agency without the legally required explanation of what's in them. The fines have reached about $1 million. Takata has denied it is not co-operating fully with the investigation.

— with a file from The Canadian Press