Toyota Motor North America announced that, based on recent information from Takata as required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is expanding its recall involving Takata front passenger air bag inflators.
The involved vehicles are equipped with a particular type of Takata inflator. According to Takata, a safety defect may arise in front passenger air bag inflators in the involved vehicles due to inflator propellant degradation occurring after prolonged exposure to high absolute humidity, high temperatures and high temperature cycling. This may result in an inflator rupture when the air bag deploys.
This expansion involves approximately 543,000 additional vehicles in the U.S. The following models are included:
- 2008-‘09 and 2012 Model Year Scion xB
- 2009 and 2012 Model Year Toyota Corolla
- 2009 and 2012 Model Year Toyota Corolla Matrix
- 2007-‘09 and 2012 Model Year Toyota Yaris
- 2012 Model Year Toyota 4Runner
- 2012 Model Year Toyota Sienna
- 2006-‘09 and 2012 Model Year Lexus IS250/350
- 2012 Model Year Lexus IS250C/350C
- 2008-‘09 and 2012 Model Year Lexus IS-F
- 2007-‘09 and 2012 Model Year Lexus ES350
- 2012 Model Year Lexus GX460
- 2012 Model Year Lexus LFA
All known owners of the involved Toyota, Scion, and Lexus vehicles will be notified by first class mail starting in February. Depending on the vehicle model, dealers will replace either the front passenger air bag inflator or air bag assembly at no cost.
In related news, Takata Corp. announced it has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the previously disclosed issues related to the integrity of Takata’s inflator validation testing and reporting. This settlement fully resolves the DOJ investigation into Takata and all of its subsidiaries and affiliates, including Takata’s U.S. subsidiary, TK Holdings.
Under the terms of the agreement, which is subject to court approval, Takata has agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud for falsifying testing data and reports that were provided to automakers. Takata will pay a criminal fine of $25 million and establish a $125 million restitution fund for individuals who suffered or will suffer personal injury caused by the malfunction of a Takata airbag inflator, and who have not already resolved their claims. In addition, Takata will establish an $850 million restitution fund for the benefit of automakers who received falsified testing data and reports or who have purchased airbag inflators from Takata containing phase-stabilized ammonium nitrate.
The company also has agreed to enhance its corporate compliance program and appoint an independent monitor, who will report to the DOJ for a period of three years and monitor Takata’s compliance with its legal and ethical obligations.
“Reaching this agreement is a major step toward resolving the airbag inflator issue and a key milestone in the ongoing process to secure investment in Takata,” said Shigehisa Takada, chairman and CEO of Takata. “Takata deeply regrets the circumstances that have led to this situation and remains fully committed to being part of the solution. We have taken aggressive actions to address past reporting lapses and will continue to work closely with regulators and our automotive customers to address the ongoing recalls and implement new technologies that advance vehicle safety, prevent injuries and save lives.”
Since February 2016, Takata’s Steering Committee, with assistance from its financial and legal advisers, has been working to seek new investment for Takata as part of a broader undertaking to address Takata’s financial and operational issues and to resolve its inflator issues on a consensual basis in partnership with its automotive customers. While this process remains ongoing, the Steering Committee has identified several parties that have expressed interest in making an investment in the company. Takata believes that the settlement with the DOJ is an important, positive step in this process.