Toyota Recalls 3.37M Hybrids due to Faulty Airbags, Emissions Control Units

Toyota Prius Plug-In modelToyota recently announced that it is preparing to recall 3.37 million hybrid cars of which 500,000 are destined for the U.S. market due to faulty airbags and potentially-explosive emissions control systems.

The move will affect all Lexus CT200h hatchbacks, and Toyota Prius and Auris models built between Oct. 2008 and April 2012.

The Japansese car maker found that the cars’ curtain shield airbags may be flawed. Reportedly, some inflators are cracked which could either prevent the airbags from fully inflating or force the inflator inside the car during deployment, a problem that usually affects old vehicles. In some severe cases, airbag could also explode.

The company said that it won’t replace the entire airbag system but equip the inflators with brackets that prevent them from moving during deployment. Toyota added that about 34,000 cars are affected by the airbag problem.

Some units have faulty fuel emissions control systems in the fuel tanks. A tiny crack could become larger in time and lead to fuel leaks when the car is running on a full tank. Fuel leaks require just a small spark to start an explosion.

The auto maker said that the recently discovered faults boost the risk of passenger injury in the said cars. Nevertheless, there aren’t any reported cases of injury caused by faulty airbags or emissions control units.

Toyota will recall 2.87 million cars that may have a cracked emission control system and 1.4 million vehicles at risk of having a faulty airbag system. The recall, which was made public Wednesday, will affect 495,000 hybrids in America and more than 740,000 in Japan. China and Europe markets will also be affected.

Toyota dismissed reports that the faulty airbags are manufactured by the struggling car parts producer Takata. However, Takata’s chief executive Shighehisa Takada announced Tuesday that he will step down. Takada has been under a lot of pressure to resign due to a three-year-long airbag scandal.

He told investors earlier this week that he will not “cling” to his position, but he only tries to make sure that the company doesn’t take a bad turn before his leave. He was severely criticized for not being able to handle the crisis more effectively.

Amid the scandal, Takata shares plunged 90 percent since 2014. The company also announced a third consecutive year of losses in four years. Between 2013 and 2016, about 100 million airbag inflators were deemed defective as there were faults that could lead to explosions provided the inflators were kept too much time in hot temperatures.

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