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It's the second major recall in two weeks...
Toyota, Nissan and Honda have announced that their recalling about 3.4 million vehicles due to defective airbags produced by Takata Corp., the second largest supplier in the world.
Reuters is reporting that Toyota is recalling about 1.73 million vehicles produced between November 2000 and March 2004, including 580,000 vehicles in North America and 490,000 vehicles in Europe. Honda is recalling about 1.14 million vehicles, while Nissan said it may call back 480,000 vehicles. Mazda said it recalled 45,463 units.
In the United States, vehicles involved include certain Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia, and Tundra, and Lexus SC 430 models manufactured from 2001–2003, according to a statement from Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. in California.
For Toyota it's the second time this year that the company has announced a recall involving more than 1 million vehicles. Last year, Toyota announced a recall involving 7.43 million units in October, followed by one involving 2.77 million vehicles the next month.
A Takata spokesman said the recall is the supplier's biggest since 1995. More recently, in 2010, Honda recalled 437,763 vehicles to inspect for faulty airbag modules supplied by Takata.
Apparently, the Japanese automakers may not be the only ones at risk.
This recall underscores the risk of huge global supply chain problems as automakers increasingly rely on a handful of suppliers for common or similar parts to cut costs.
Some airbags at the front passenger seat may not inflate correctly because of a problem with the propellant used in the airbag inflator, Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said.
Takata has also supplied the faulty airbags to non-Japanese carmakers, said Toyohiro Hishikawa, spokesman for the components maker, declining to identify them. Tokyo-based Takata supplies airbags and seatbelts to major automakers including Ford Motor Co. and Daimler, as well as the Japanese brands.
The defect was caused by problems in the manufacturing process, said Hideyuki Matsumoto, a second Takata spokesman.
Toyota will exchange the faulty inflators for new ones, a fix that is expected to take about an hour to two-and-a-half hours for most models, Sakai said. He declined to give the costs related to the recall.
"The inflators themselves are not so expensive, but there is the cost to cover for the hours spent to fix the problem," said Kohei Takahashi, an autos analyst at J.P. Morgan in Japan.
Takata estimates there are about 2 million vehicles using the defective airbag.