Toyota recalls 361,000 vehicles for air bag inflator issue

By David Shepardson
Toyota Motor's logo is pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo
Toyota Motor's logo is pictured at the 45th Tokyo Motor Show in Tokyo

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> said on Wednesday it is recalling 361,000 older vehicles worldwide for potentially defective air bag inflators.

The defect involves a different type of Takata inflator than those that have prompted the largest-ever auto safety recalls worldwide covering more than 42 million U.S. vehicles by 19 automakers with Takata air bag inflators.

Honda Motor Co <7267.T> said on Tuesday it will recall 2.7 million older U.S. vehicles in North America for the same type of Takata inflator that Toyota is also recalling. Takata issued a new defect notice in November for inflators from four automakers, including Honda and Toyota.

Toyota's new recall covers some 1998-2000 Toyota RAV4, 1998-1999 RAV4 EV, 1998-1999 Celica and 1997-1998

Model Year Supra vehicles with a non-azide front driver airbag inflator, including 139,000 in the United States.

The notice came after BMW recalled more than 200,000 vehicles in the United States for the same type of inflator after the death of a driver in Australia from an air bag rupture involving one of the inflators, along with two other injury incidents in Australia and Cyprus.

In total, at least 25 people have been killed and 290 injured from the inflators, which can explode when deployed and spray deadly metal fragments. U.S. regulators say the cause of the inflator explosions is propellant breaking down after long-term exposure to high temperature fluctuations and humidity.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)