Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Toyota Initiates Recall of 50,000 US Vehicles Amidst Airbag Safety Concerns

Toyota’s announcement of the recall of 50,000 vehicles in the United States due to concerns of airbag malfunction leading to ‘injury or death’ has triggered urgency among owners.

The advisory labeled “Do Not Drive” encompasses a selection of Toyota’s older models spanning from 2003 to 2005, cautioning against further operation until repairs are made.

The company underscores the severity of the issue, highlighting the potential for airbag deployment to result in internal component failure and subsequent release of hazardous metal fragments, posing grave risk to both drivers and passengers.

Among the vehicles affected by the recall are the Corolla models from 2003-2004, the Corolla Matrix from 2003-2004, and the RAV4 from 2004-2005.

The history of Takata airbag inflators has been marred by serious safety concerns, leading to the largest recall in the automotive industry’s history, involving over 100 million units across various car manufacturers worldwide.

Following a protracted period marked by recalls, legal actions, and a criminal probe in the United States, Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017, subsequently selling its assets to Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned entity, for approximately $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion).

Toyota’s challenges extend beyond the airbag recall, with recent developments highlighting irregularities in certification tests for diesel engines, jointly developed by Toyota Industries.

An internal investigation revealed instances of manipulation in horsepower output tests conducted by Toyota Industries employees.

The impacted engines are utilized in ten models distributed globally, including the Hiace van and Land Cruiser SUV.

Toyota also confronts issues stemming from misconduct at Daihatsu, a specialist in small cars, which admitted to falsifying safety tests spanning over three decades.

The transport ministry of Japan raided Daihatsu headquarters late last year, resulting in the suspension of global shipments of Daihatsu vehicles, along with the revocation of certification for three Daihatsu models.

Addressing concerns regarding the scandals involving Toyota’s subsidiaries, President Koji Sato acknowledged the prevailing pressure within the fiercely competitive automotive industry, admitting to a lack of comprehensive understanding of certification procedures among both testing personnel and management.

In a separate development, Toyota disclosed that it achieved a record-breaking sales figure of 11.2 million vehicles in 2023, solidifying its position as the leading car manufacturer globally for the fourth consecutive year, surpassing its closest competitor, Volkswagen of Germany, which sold 9.2 million vehicles during the same period.

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