Another airbag recall has hit a Japanese automaker, though this time it isn’t Takata under the spotlight. Toyota will be recalling 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for an electronic fault that can result in airbags not deploying in crashes, Reuters reports. Of these, 2.9 million vehicles are in the United States, and includes the 2011-2019 Corolla, 2011-2013 Matrix, 2012-2018 Avalon and 2013-2018 Avalon Hybrid, the report said.
The fault involves an electronic control unit which may not have sufficient protection from electrical noise that can occur in crashes, which could lead to incomplete or non-deployment of airbags in the event of a collision. The inadequate shielding could also impede the operation of the vehicles’ seat belt pre-tensioners, Reuters reported.
The airbag control units in question are manufactured by TRW Automotive, now owned by auto components manufacturer ZF Friedrichshafen. A total of eight recorded deaths could be related to this matter, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. To rectify, Toyota dealers will install a noise filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness if deemed necessary, the report said, adding that Toyota will notify owners of the recall by mid-March.
The NHTSA expanded its investigation of defective airbags to 12.3 million vehicles in April, including the units Toyota is recalling, noting that it had identified two frontal crash events including one fatal incident “involving Toyota products where (electrical overstress) is suspected as the likely cause”, resulting airbags not deploying. Both involved newer Corolla models, Reuters noted.
There could be more in question; according to the NHTSA, the airbags under investigation were installed in more than 12 million vehicles made from 2010 to 2019, and included models from Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi. Of these, Hyundai, Kia and Fiat Chrysler issued recalls for 2.5 million vehicles with TRW airbag control units which may not deploy.
Fiat Chrysler’s recall of almost two million vehicles found that reports of three deaths and five injuries could be related to this defect, while Hyundai and Kia recalled more than one million units similarly for concerns of non-deploying airbags, and the Korean automakers received reports of four deaths and six injuries which occurred in North America that could be related to this matter.