On April 9th, Toyota issued a massive recall of 1.8 million cars in the United States to fix a range of problems including airbags that may not inflate and defective springs in front seat rails which will not lock the seat in place in the event of a collision.
This recall comes on the heels of a potential criminal investigation of GM for which they failed to report and recall vehicles with known ignition switch issues that are linked to at least 13 deaths.
The Toyota recall was announced just three weeks after the Justice Department concluded a four-year long investigation of Toyota; which resulted in a $1.2 billion criminal penalty after it was revealed that the company covered up information about automotive defects that caused cars to accelerate unintentionally. The problem was linked to faulty floor mats and sticky gas pedals.
Toyota reports that they are unaware of any injuries or deaths related to the current recalls.
In the U.S., the automaker is recalling about 1.3 million vehicles for airbag defect repairs and 472,500 vehicles for seat rail spring defect repairs.
According to recent reports, Toyota reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they had been tracking the problem with air bags since 2011 through customer complaints. In 2012, after tracking these complaints, the automaker concluded that failures involving the airbag were consistent with certain characteristics of the Tacoma pickup truck; of which they recalled almost 500,000.
They continued to track the reported failures and determined that a greater recall is necessary. The current recall includes 6 different models in the years 2006-10.
The defect with the airbag deployment involves the steering wheel and a spiral cable connection that can be damaged when the wheel is turned; when damaged, the airbag will become disabled and will not deploy in a collision.
Another recall is focused on seat rails that contain springs that will break when the seats are frequently adjusted. When the springs break, the seat will not lock in place and, in the event of a collision, increases the risk of injury.
There are other recalls Toyota is issuing along with these in Europe and Asia for steering column brackets that become unstable and windshield-wiper motors that are linked to possible fires in starter motors.
The total recall worldwide affects 6.39 million cars.