TAKATA PROBLEMS KEEP EXPANDING: At least one expert has put forward the possibility of Takata, maker of exploding crash-bags, going bankrupt. Image: AP
TOKYO, Japan - Toyota said on Thursday it would recall 57 000 vehicles globally to replace potentially deadly Takata air bags as a safety crisis around the Japanese auto-parts maker looks far from being contained.
Toyota's action follows a recall by rival Honda for the same problem two weeks earlier after revelations of a fifth death, in Malaysia, linked to Takata's air bag inflator. More than 16-million vehicles have been recalled worldwide since 2008 because the inflators can explode with too much force and spray lethal metal fragments into the car.
DAIHATSU INVOLVED, TOO....
Toyota is recalling some Vitz sub-compacts (Yaris in South Africa) and RAV4 units made between December 2002 and March 2004. About 40 000 are in Japan, 6000 in Europe and the rest in other markets outside North America.
Toyota said it was not aware of any injury or death related to the recall.
Separately, Toyota's small-car subsidiary Daihatsu also issued a recall, in Japan, of 27 571 Mira mini-vehicles produced between December 2002 and May 2003 for the same reason - its first recall involving Takata inflators.
About 2.6-million vehicles have been recalled in Japan so far for Takata replacements, a transport ministry official there said.
Takata-related recalls are almost certain to balloon after US safety regulators on Wednesday Nov 26 2014) ordered the company to expand a regional recall of driver-side air bags to cover the entire US, not just hot and humid areas where the inflators are thought to become more volatile.
Takata has so far resisted expanding the recall, saying that could divert replacements fromhigh-humidity regions that need them most.
...AND FORD, HONDA, CHRYSLER, MAZDA, BMW
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given Takata a week to issue a nationwide recall or it could impose penalties as high as $7000 per vehicle. It remains unclear how many more vehicles that would add but it could be in the millions, affecting Ford, Honda, Chrysler, Mazda and BMW.
Nomura Credit Research analyst Shintaro Niimura wrote in a November 26 report that a US-wide recall of driver's-side air bags could cost an estimated $600-million). He wrote: "Takata could need nearly $1.7-billion of reserves in the event of a nationwide US recall (including passenger bags) and the company's cash-on-hand would be tightly squeezed."
The company was, he said, possibly in danger of bankruptcy.