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Toyota recalls 3.4M vehicles because airbags may not deploy in crashes

WASHINGTON — Toyota will recall 3.4 million vehicles worldwide because of an electronic glitch that can result in airbags not deploying in crashes.

The recall, which includes 2.9 million U.S. vehicles, covers 2011-19 Corolla, 2011-13 Matrix, 2012-18 Avalon and 2013-18 Avalon Hybrid vehicles.

The vehicles may have an electronic control unit that does not have adequate protection against electrical noise that can occur in crashes, which could lead to incomplete or non-deployment of the airbags. It could also impede the operation of seat-belt pretensioners.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in April expanded a probe into 12.3 million potentially defective airbags covering a number of automakers, including the vehicles Toyota is recalling.

NHTSA said in April it had identified two frontal crash events, including one fatal crash “involving Toyota products where (electrical overstress) is suspected as the likely cause” of airbags not deploying. Both involved newer Corolla cars.

NHTSA said the airbags under investigation were installed in more than 12 million vehicles from 2010 through 2019 sold by Toyota, Fiat ChryslerAutomobiles, Honda, Hyundai, Kia and Mitsubishi.

They were equipped with an airbag control unit initially produced by TRWAutomotive Holdings, which is now owned by ZF Friedrichshafen.

In total, NHTSA said as many as eight deaths could be tied to the issue.

Hyundai, Kia and Fiat Chrysler previously issued recalls for more than 2.5 million vehicles with the TRW airbag control units in question that might not deploy in crashes.

When it recalled nearly 2 million vehicles for airbag non-deployments in 2016, Fiat Chrysler said it had reports of three deaths and five injuries that might be related to the defect.

Hyundai and Kia ultimately recalled more than 1 million vehicles for airbag non-deployment concerns in 2018. Hyundai and Kia in 2018 said they had reports of four deaths and six injuries in North America tied to the issue.

Toyota dealers will install a noise filter between the airbag control module and its wire harness if needed.

Toyota declined to say how many deaths or injuries have been tied to the defect. Toyota will notify vehicle owners of the recall by mid-March.

Font: Automotive News Europe

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