Toyota Outlines U.S. Plan to Fix Previous Air-Bag Recall

Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) outlined a plan to fix air bags that could project metal fragments in 844,277 previously recalled U.S. cars and trucks, including the 2003 and 2004 Corolla sedan.

The company’s announcement included one General Motors Co. (GM) model, Pontiac Vibe models from 2003 to 2004, which was produced at a Toyota factory under an agreement with the U.S. automaker. Other Toyota models include the Matrix hatchback and Tundra pickup truck from the same years, and the Sequoia SUV and Lexus SC from model years 2002 to 2004.

Toyota said June 11 it would recall 2.27 million vehicles worldwide to fix the defect, including 650,000 in Japan. It’s an expansion of an action that began last year because most cars recalled weren’t repaired properly.

The affected cars and trucks have a defective air-bag inflator made by Takata Corp. (7312) that uses excessive pressure and can rupture when activated, sending flying particles that could seriously injure occupants.

Government scrutiny of potential safety flaws is on the rise across the auto industry as General Motors Co. faces investigations for delaying a recall of almost 2.6 million cars for faulty ignition switches. Toyota has recalled as many as 10.1 million autos worldwide this year, while GM has called back almost 14 million in the U.S. alone.

Toyota Notification

Toyota will notify owners of its models included in the recall. GM will contact owners of the Pontiac Vibe. Toyota said this recall supersedes a previous effort because some cars were inspected without having the inflators replaced.

Toyota is the first Japanese carmaker to widen last year’s recall involving Takata’s air bags, with Honda Motor Co. (7267) and Nissan Motor Co. (7201) saying they’re studying the issue.

Toyota, Honda and Nissan recalled more than 3 million vehicles last year because of defective air-bag inflators supplied by Tokyo-based Takata. Toyota said it determined that the serial numbers provided by Takata were incomplete and excluded some that were potentially flawed.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a defect investigation June 11, which the agency said will focus on consumer complaints about ruptures in Takata-made air-bag inflators used in cars by Honda, Toyota, Mazda Motor Corp. (7261), Nissan and Chrysler Group LLC.

NHTSA’s probe, related to models with Takata-made air bags in the U.S., involves about 1.1 million cars from the 2002 to 2006 model years including the Honda Civic, Nissan Sentra, Mazda6, Toyota Corolla and Chrysler’s Dodge Charger.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeff Plungis in Washington at jplungis@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at bkohn2@bloomberg.net Elizabeth Wasserman, Justin Blum

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