One week before a new U.S. president is sworn into office, a second major automotive scandal--the one involving Takata's fatally flawed airbags--is coming to an end.
But while today's agreement may wind down the government's investigation of the Japanese supplier, the recall and repair of vehicles equipped with its explosive airbag inflators is still going strong--and will continue to do so for years to come.
As proof of that, we've seen well over one million vehicles added to the recall roster the past few days, including models from Fiat Chrysler, Honda, and Ford. Today, Toyota joined in, with 543,000 additional Lexus, Scion, and Toyota vehicles now slated for service.
As with most of the recalls we've seen this week, this one addresses front passenger-side airbag inflators. According to Toyota, the recall is " based on recent information from Takata as required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration".
That information confirms once again that Takata's use of ammonium nitrate in its inflators has proven to be a dangerous and deadly mistake. Ammonium nitrate can become destabilized when exposed to moisture (including humidity) and high temperatures. Once destabilized, the compound may explode with too much force when airbags deploy, sending hot shrapnel ripping through the airbags.
To date, the devices have been linked to 16 deaths and more than 100 injuries worldwide.
The Toyota vehicles that now need to have their passenger-side inflators replaced include the following makes and models:
- 2007 – 2009 and 2012 Lexus ES 350
- 2012 Lexus GX 460
- 2006 – 2009 and 2012 Lexus IS 250
- 2006 – 2009 and 2012 Lexus IS 350
- 2012 Lexus IS 250C
- 2012 Lexus IS 350C
- 2008 – 2009 and 2012 Lexus IS F
- 2012 Lexus LFA
- 2008 – 2009 and 2012 Scion xB
- 2012 Toyota 4Runner
- 2009 and 2012 Toyota Corolla
- 2009 and 2012 Toyota Matrix
- 2012 Toyota Sienna
- 2007 – 2009 and 2012 Toyota Yaris
Owners of those vehicles will receive recall notifications by mail, with instructions for scheduling service with dealerships. Dealers will either replace the front passenger-side airbag inflator or the entire airbag assembly, depending on the vehicle.
If you want to know whether your Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicle is affected by the Takata recall--or any recall, for that matter---you're encouraged to visit toyota.com/recall or safercar.gov/vin and enter your car's vehicle identification number. For additional information, you can contact Toyota Customer Service at 800-331-4331, or Lexus Customer Service at 800-255-3987.