In a significant development, Toyota Motor has issued a critical recall notice for approximately 50,000 older vehicles in the United States, citing severe risks associated with Takata air bag inflators. The Japanese automotive giant strongly advises owners of the affected vehicles to seek immediate repair services to prevent potential fatalities.
The recall specifically targets certain models from the years 2003 to 2005, including the 2003-2004 Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix, and 2004-2005 RAV4. These models are equipped with Takata air bag inflators that pose a risk of exploding and propelling metal shrapnel inside the vehicle, a flaw linked to numerous deaths and injuries globally.
This recall is part of a larger issue that has been impacting the automotive industry for over a decade. Since 2009, faulty Takata air bag inflators have been connected to more than 30 deaths worldwide, including 26 in the United States, and hundreds of injuries across various automakers’ vehicles. The scale of recalls involving Takata air bag inflators is unprecedented, with over 67 million units recalled in the U.S. alone, involving more than 20 automakers, making it the largest auto safety recall in history.
Toyota’s current recall also encompasses other models from the 2020 to 2022 production years, including various editions of Avalon, Camry, Corolla, RAV4, Lexus ES250, ES300H, ES350, RX350 Highlander, and Sienna Hybrid vehicles. These recalls are due to potential malfunctions in the Occupant Classification System (OCS) sensors.
In addition to the RAV4 recall concerning the driver’s airbag, other recalls focus on the front passenger airbag. Some Corolla and Corolla Matrix models are also subject to a second recall, which could cause the airbag to deploy unexpectedly, even without a crash.
This “Do Not Drive” advisory is not the first of its kind. Other automakers have issued similar warnings for vehicles with older Takata air bag inflators following fatal accidents. For instance, Stellantis (formerly Chrysler) alerted owners of certain 2003 Dodge Ram pickups and other older U.S. vehicles to stop driving them immediately due to similar concerns. Similarly, Honda Motor issued a warning for some Acura and Honda vehicles after a fatal incident involving a faulty Takata air bag inflator.
Toyota has not specified whether the “Do Not Drive” warning was prompted by a recent serious injury or fatality involving one of the affected models. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has yet to comment on this latest recall.
Owners of the affected Toyota models are urged to contact their local dealerships for further information and immediate repair arrangements to mitigate the risk posed by these faulty air bag inflators.