Toyota recalls more vehicles over dangerous air bags

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) is recalling 57,000 vehicles worldwide amid widening concerns over defective air bags made by Takata.

The Japanese automaker said Thursday that roughly 40,000 of the vehicles were in Japan. The company is also investigating a new type of air bag problem that could lead to further recalls.

Toyota's recall for driver-side air bags is the latest in the widening safety problems related to Takata air bags. Toyota's recall involves three models: Vitz, Yaris and RAV4 vehicles made in 2002 and 2003. The company said it was not aware of any injury or death stemming from the recall.

Daihatsu Motor Co. said it's also recalling more than 27,000 Mira compact models in Japan for the same air bag problem linked to an inflator.

Takata air bags can inflate with excessive force, sending metal shrapnel toward the driver and passengers. More than 16 million vehicles, including 2.6 million in Japan, have been recalled since problems with the air bags began to surface in 2008.

Toyota is looking into whether a new type of air bag problem in a 2003 vehicle that could lead to further recalls. In that case, revealed Wednesday by the transport ministry, the air bag ruptured when it was launched while the vehicle was being scrapped earlier this month.

The rupture occurred on the passenger side of the now discontinued Will Cypha, company spokeswoman Kayo Doi said.

That air bag problem is not part of the ongoing recalls, and Toyota will add the new case to the company's investigation, she said.

There were broken metal fragments found but nobody was injured at the site, according to Masato Sahashi, a ministry official in charge of recalls. He said the cause of the rupture is still under investigation.

Transport minister Akihiro Ohta earlier this week ordered Japanese automakers to expedite their current recalls.

The air bag problems, which which affects 11 car makers, have been blamed for at least six deaths and dozens of injuries.

Japan's transport ministry has ordered Takata to investigate the faulty air bags.

In the U.S., Takata is facing growing pressure from safety regulators to order a nationwide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week gave the Japanese company until Dec. 2 to file paperwork declaring a defect and agreeing to expand the recall from high-humidity states to the full nation.

Takata's inflators "pose an unreasonable risk of death or serious injury that may result from a component that, when not defective, is designed to save lives," the agency said in a letter to Takata.

NHTSA has posted a list of vehicles affected by the airbag recall and is urging owners to "take immediate action." Drivers can find out if their vehicles are part of the recall by using a search tool on SaferCar.gov.

BMW: 627,615 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2000 - 2005 3 Series Sedan

2000 - 2006 3 Series Coupe

2000 - 2005 3 Series Sports Wagon

2000 - 2006 3 Series Convertible

2001 - 2006 M3 Coupe

2001 - 2006 M3 Convertible

Chrysler: 371,309 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 - 2008 Dodge Ram 1500

2005 - 2008 Dodge Ram 2500

2006 - 2008 Dodge Ram 3500

2006 - 2008 Dodge Ram 4500

2008 - Dodge Ram 5500

2005 - 2008 Dodge Durango

2005 - 2008 Dodge Dakota

2005 - 2008 Chrysler 300

2007 - 2008 Chrysler Aspen

Ford: 58,669 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 - Ranger

2005 - 2006 GT

2005 - 2007 Mustang

General Motors: undetermined total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 - 2005 Pontiac Vibe

2005 - Saab 9-2X

Honda: 5,051,364 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 - 2007 Honda Accord

2001 - 2002 Honda Accord

2001 - 2005 Honda Civic

2002 - 2006 Honda CR-V

2003 - 2011 Honda Element

2002 - 2004 Honda Odyssey

2003 - 2007 Honda Pilot

2006 - Honda Ridgeline

2003 - 2006 Acura MDX

2002 - 2003 Acura TL/CL

2005 - Acura RL

Mazda: 64,872 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 - 2007 Mazda6

2006 - 2007 MazdaSpeed6

2004 - 2008 Mazda RX-8

2004 - 2005 MPV

2004 - B-Series Truck

Mitsubishi: 11,985 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2004 - 2005 Lancer

2006 - 2007 Raider

Nissan: 694,626 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2001 - 2003 Nissan Maxima

2001 - 2004 Nissan Pathfinder

2002 - 2004 Nissan Sentra

2001 - 2004 Infiniti I30/I35

2002 - 2003 Infiniti QX4

2003 - 2005 Infiniti FX35/FX45

Subaru: 17,516 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2003 - 2005 Baja

2003 - 2005 Legacy

2003 - 2005 Outback

2004 - 2005 Impreza

Toyota: 834,000 total number of potentially affected vehicles

2002 - 2005 Lexus SC

2002 - 2005 Toyota Corolla

2003 - 2005 Toyota Corolla Matrix

2002 - 2005 Toyota Sequoia

2003 - 2005 Toyota Tundra