Thursday, January 31, 2013
Toyota Corolla Airbag Recall
The AP (1/31, Kageyama) reports that Toyota is "recalling 907,000 cars, mostly Corollas, due to air bags that can improperly inflate when the vehicle's electronic signals damage a chip in the part that controls the air bags. It also is recalling 385,000 Lexus IS luxury cars with wipers that can get stuck if there is heavy snowfall." While Toyota had initially said there were no accidents related to the problem, a spokesperson on Wednesday said that there were two crashes in the US related to the air bag problem. In addition, Toyota has confirmed 18 cases of injuries form the air bag problem and a total of "46 reports of problems involving the air bags from North America, and one from Japan, and 25 reports of problems related to the windshield wipers."
USA Today (1/30, Woodyard, 1.71M) reports, "Toyota says the air bag control module for the supplemental restraint system in the Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles could have been manufactured with faulty circuit boards. If it malfunctions, it could cause a short, causing a buildup of heat or potentially causing the air bags or seat belt pretensioners to deploy when there hasn't been a crash." While "in the case of the wiper blades on the Lexus IS, the loose nut could cause the wipers to fail if they encounter a heavy load that puts them under pressure, like the buildup of snow, Toyota says."
The Los Angeles Times (1/30, Hirsch, 692K) notes that "Toyota has had a series a large recalls in recent years and has paid record federal fines for not recalling its vehicles fast enough. But that doesn't seem to bother buyers."
The Detroit News (1/31, Shepardson, 119K) reports that the investigation into the air bags "began in August when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asked other automakers for information on air bag malfunctions using the chip that was used in Chrysler Jeep Liberty SUVs that were under investigation."