Major Japanese automakers have issued a major recall on over 3 million vehicles because of the risk of serious injury to passengers when the passenger-side air bag deploys during an accident.
Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda are recalling about 3.3 million vehicles worldwide because the passenger-side air bag could deploy with too much force, sending shards of metal into the passenger area, the automakers said Thursday.
The recalls, announced in Tokyo, include about 1.7 million Toyotas, 1.1 million Hondas, 480,000 Nissans and 20,000 Mazdas. Almost 1.4 million of the vehicles are in the United States.
Among the automakers, Honda has had the most serious, continuing problem with air bags. Before Thursday’s action, Honda had already recalled almost two million vehicles since 2008 for an excessively powerful driver’s air bag.
Honda said on Thursday that it was not aware of any injuries related to the defect, which involves the inflaters on passenger-side air bags. But late in 2011, Honda acknowledged 18 injuries and two deaths linked to a recall of two million vehicles because of the problem with the driver’s air bag.
Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, said in an e-mail that the passenger-side air bag deploys differently.
Instead of sending metal fragments directly at the driver, he said, the passenger’s air bag “could propel metal fragments upward toward the windshield or downward toward the front passenger’s footwell.”
The bags were produced by the Japanese supplier Takata Corporation, which also sold some of the defective products to General Motors and BMW, according to a report Takata filed Thursday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington. New York Times, 11 April 2013.
This isn’t the first time automakers have run into issues with deadly air bags. Click here to read more about our experience with air bag personal injury cases.