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Three million Japanese cars ordered recalled due to defective airbag

A massive recall of more than 3 million vehicles has been announced by Japanese car manufacturers. Toyota Motor, Honda Motor and Nissan Motor all said they were recalling the cars because of defective air bags. This is the latest in a recent run of recalls. Toyota in particular has been plagued with recalls involving unintended acceleration, among other issues.

Toyota Motor is recalling 1.7 million vehicles from the Corolla, Tundra, Lexus SC model lines built from 2000 to 2004, with approxomelty 580,000 vehicles in North America, 490,000 in Europe and 320,000 in Japan.

Honda's recall includes the Civic and Odyssey minivan, and involves 1.1 million vehicles worldwide. Nissan has recalled 480,000 vehicles worldwide. Mazda is also reported to have recalled up to 45,000 vehicles.

The source of the recall was defective airbags manufactured by Takata Corp. Toyota noted that a malfunctioning inflator was the problem and could trigger airbag improper deployments or cause the automatic seat belt restraints to activate.

According to a Reuters' story, the defective airbags were built at a Takata plant in Mexico between 2000 and 2002. The story points out that as businesses worldwide consolidate to minimize costs, they increase the risk of massive recalls caused by a defect introduced by one of their suppliers.

This type of a defect, where the inflator could randomly inflate or catch fire while the vehicle is being driven, could cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and resuslt in a crash. The defective airbag was apparently caused by a failure of the quality control process and improper storage of the inflators.

Source: Reuters, "Toyota, Honda and Nissan recall over 3 million cars," Yoko Kubota, April 11, 2013

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