TORRANCE, California — Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. late Tuesday said it is expanding its recalls involving defective Takata airbag inflators to include an additional 637,000 vehicles in the U.S., including the 2004-'05 Toyota RAV4 SUV and 2005-'07 Toyota Corolla sedan.
"The inflators could potentially be susceptible to rupture when deployed in a crash, increasing the risk of injury to vehicle occupants," Toyota said in a statement.
This is part of a larger global recall of about 5 million Toyota vehicles worldwide.
Toyota's recall in areas of high absolute humidity launched in 2014 will expand to include approximately 300,000 vehicles, including the 2005-'07 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix and Sequoia; 2005-'06 Tundra and 2005-'07 Lexus SC coupe.
Areas of high absolute humidity include coastal areas around the Gulf of Mexico for Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Louisiana, along with Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii.
Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight says: "To date, Toyota is not aware of any injuries or fatalities caused by this condition in the newly expanded group of recalled vehicles (approximately 5,089,000 globally). We have investigated at least eight reports of injuries alleged from Takata rupture events in the field."
Defective Takata airbags have been linked to six fatalities in Honda vehicles. The defect causes the airbags to deploy with too much force, shooting metal shrapnel at vehicle occupants.
Toyota said "multiple investigations" are looking into the root cause of the problem.
Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense firm, has been hired by a group of 10 automakers to test potentially defective Takata inflators.
Knight says the front driver airbag inflator will be replaced with a newly manufactured inflator produced by Daicel, and Takata will supply the newly manufactured front-passenger airbag inflator.
No information about the expanded Toyota recall has been posted on the Web site of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which oversees vehicle safety in the U.S.
Edmunds says: Toyota is advising affected customers to look for an official notice in the mail to return their vehicles to a Toyota or Lexus dealer for the repair. Those with an immediate concern should contact their dealer now.