Flawed Airbags Prompt Massive Recall for Japanese Automakers


  • 2001 Honda Civic Picture

    2001 Honda Civic Picture

    The 2001-'03 Honda Civic is part of a massive recall of Japanese vehicles to fix an airbag problem. | April 11, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling approximately 3.4 million vehicles globally due to defective airbags.
  • In the U.S., Honda said it is recalling more than 561,000 vehicles because the front airbags can deploy with too much pressure and "could result in injury."
  • Toyota said it may recall up to 510,000 vehicles in the U.S., although it added that "more precise vehicle information is being developed."

TORRANCE, California — Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda are recalling approximately 3.4 million vehicles globally, including the 2001-'03 Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, due to defective airbags.

In the U.S., Honda said it is recalling more than 561,000 vehicles because the front airbags can deploy with too much pressure and "could result in injury."

The Honda recall here affects 426,000 2001-'03 Civics, 43,000 2002-'03 Honda CR-Vs and 92,000 2002 Honda Odysseys.

"It is possible that the passenger front airbag inflators in affected vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which may cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury," said Honda in a statement posted on its Web site. "Honda is aware of one crash in which a passenger front airbag deployed with too much pressure, causing the casing to rupture."

Honda said it is not aware of any injuries or deaths related to the recall. Honda said the recall will begin in late May. Owners can contact Honda at 800-999-1009.

Toyota said in a statement that it is recalling about 170,000 vehicles.

However, it added "more precise information is being developed, but about 510,000 vehicles may have to be inspected to locate the suspect inflators."

The Toyota recall involves the 2001-'03 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra, along with the Lexus SC 430.

Toyota also said the front passenger airbag could deploy "abnormally" in the event of a crash. It did not set a date for the recall. Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace the inflators.

Nissan said 480,000 2000-'04 Nissan vehicles are affected worldwide in this recall. It has not yet specified which vehicles are affected.

"Takata (an automotive supplier) has reported to NHTSA a potential safety defect in the front passenger airbag inflators in certain 2000-'04 Nissan vehicles, and also vehicles of our competitors," said Nissan North America in response to a query from Edmunds on Thursday. "Nissan is conducting a voluntary safety recall campaign to address the issue identified by Takata and replace the front passenger airbag inflator. Nissan plans to begin notifying customers within 30 days. Nissan dealers will replace the front passenger airbag inflator with a countermeasured one at no cost to the customers for parts or labor."

Japanese media reported that Mazda vehicles are also part of the massive recall. Mazda's U.S. operations did not respond immediately to an Edmunds request seeking more information.

Edmunds says: There is a delay with this recall as Japanese automakers wait for parts to become available.

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