NEWS

Toyota Expands Takata Airbag Recall by 1.4 Million Cars

2007-toyota-sequoia_new.jpg 2007 Toyota Sequoia; | Cars.com photo by Ian Merritt

A month after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a massive expansion of Takata airbag recalls, Toyota has added 1.37 million cars to its U.S. recall total.

Related: Is Your Car Part of the Takata Airbag Recall?

Effectively, Toyota took regional recalls in areas of high absolute humidity on five cars and expanded them to nationwide campaigns. Those vehicles are the 2005-2007 Corolla, 2005-2007 Matrix, 2005-2006 Tundra, 2004-2007 Sequoia and 2005-2007 Lexus SC (Lexus is Toyota’s luxury division). All five cars are under recall for the passenger-side airbag.

Earlier model years for all five cars were already under a national recall for the passenger-side airbag. The 2004-2005 RAV4 is the only Toyota under recall for the driver-side airbag; it’s also a national campaign.

Like with several other automakers, Toyota’s recall is vehicle specific, and “not every single vehicle of the model year” listed will actually be recalled, spokeswoman Cindy Knight told us. But those instances should be rare, given that Toyota says the grand total for Takata recalls in the U.S. (that is, the 2003-2007 Corolla and Matrix, 2003-2006 Tundra, 2002-2007 Sequoia, 2004-2005 RAV4 and 2002-2007 Lexus SC) amounts to 2.92 million cars. A Cars.com analysis of Automotive News sales data for those cars during their respective calendar years suggests that the vast majority of recalled cars will, in fact, be recalled.

Toyota determines recall inclusion by vehicle identification number and will notify affected owners by first-class mail.

That adds some confusion on a car-by-car basis, but at least one other complication has been removed: geography. There are no more regional Takata recalls for Toyota, though owners in certain areas of high humidity will still receive regional notices instead of national ones. The repair calls for dealers to replace the affected airbag inflator, and Knight said it’s the same regardless of where you live or which notice you get. Owners will get only one notice, not both, she added.

This week’s expansion brings Toyota’s U.S. recall total for Takata airbags to 2.92 million cars. Replacement inflators remain “limited,” Toyota says, and the automaker is prioritizing replacement in areas of high absolute humidity, given Takata’s lab tests suggest humidity plays a major role in the inflator malfunctions. However, Toyota still advises owners with unrepaired passenger-side airbag recalls to keep the seat free of occupants until the repair is made, regardless of where they live.

GM is also expanding its recall of the Pontiac Vibe, a corporate twin to the Matrix, to include what appears to be a national recall for the 2003-2007 model years. Previously there was only a regional recall on the 2003-2004 Vibe. GM spokesman Alan Adler told us the recall total for the Vibe now stands at 342,000, though it’s still unclear if Toyota’s total (2.92 million) includes that figure.

Toyota is the 10th — and last — major automaker to address NHTSA’s May 19 announcement. Eight of the other nine major automakers involved in U.S. Takata airbag recalls have announced expansions since the announcement. The ninth, Nissan, told NHTSA on May 29 that the expansion does not affect it.

We’re keeping track of all cars involved in the Takata airbag recall; click here to see it. Toyota owners can learn more at toyota.com/recall or by calling Toyota at 800-331-4331, Lexus at 800-255-3987 or NHTSA at 888-327-4236.

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