Toyota Corp. has recalled another 198,000 cars in the U.S. because they contain the dangerous Takata Corp. air bag parts. This brought the total number of the automaker’s Takata-related recalls as of mid-March in the U.S. to more than 3 million. The recall came a week after the revelation that Takata officials had manipulated test data for its air bag inflators. As we have previously reported at least 10 people have been killed with dozens more injured as a result of this defect.
A number of other automakers expanded their recall efforts in connection with the air bags. The latest Toyota recall involves approximately 198,000 model year 2008 Corolla and Corolla Matrixes and model year 2008-2010 Lexus SC 430s. The automaker said that the recalled cars are equipped with a Takata-produced dual-stage front passenger airbag inflator that could potentially rupture when deployed in a crash.
It appears that Takata employees altered test data for its potentially defective air bags even after recalls began. One air bag production engineer had warned in 2005 that “the integrity of validation reports … is in serious question.” Last November, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) levied civil penalties against Toyota totaling $200 million. That’s the largest penalty ever imposed by the agency. Toyota has admitted that it failed to alert NHTSA of the defect despite knowing about it, and said that data submitted to the agency about the defect since at least 2009 was “selective, incomplete or inaccurate.”
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