Toyota Issues Urgent Warning to 50,000 US Vehicle Owners Amidst Airbag Safety Concerns

Toyota Issues Urgent Warning to 50,000 US Vehicle Owners Amidst Airbag Safety Concerns

In a significant safety advisory, Toyota has urgently called upon 50,000 owners of older vehicles in the United States to immediately address potential airbag inflator issues. The warning pertains to models produced between 2003 and 2005, cautioning against driving due to the risk of airbag inflator explosions linked to fatalities.

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The Do Not Drive Advisory: A Matter of Life and Death

Toyota’s advisory specifically targets airbag inflators manufactured by Takata, highlighting the critical risk they pose to vehicle occupants. More than 30 deaths since 2009 have been associated with these inflators, prompting the “Do Not Drive” directive.

The affected vehicles include the 2003-2004 model Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix, and 2004-2005 RAV4. Toyota emphasizes the urgent need for repairs to prevent potential airbag deployment issues, which could result in the release of sharp metal fragments.

Takata’s Troubles: A History of Recalls and Legal Battles

The broader issue stems from serious concerns surrounding Takata airbag inflators, initiating the largest safety recall in the automotive industry. With over 100 million products and more than 20 carmakers involved, Takata faced recalls, lawsuits, and a US criminal investigation before filing for bankruptcy in 2017.

Following Takata’s bankruptcy, its assets were acquired by Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems for approximately $1.6 billion (£1.3 billion), marking the end of a tumultuous chapter for the company.

Toyota’s Recent Challenges: Beyond Airbag Concerns

In addition to the airbag advisory, Toyota faced challenges this week with the suspension of vehicle shipments. Irregularities in certification tests for diesel engines, developed by Toyota Industries, led to the suspension.

Toyota is grappling with a case of misconduct at Daihatsu, a subsidiary specializing in small cars. The admission of falsifying safety tests dating back over three decades has prompted investigations and global shipment suspensions.

President’s Acknowledgment: A Competitive Industry’s Pressures

Toyota’s President, Koji Sato, acknowledged the challenges faced by the company, citing pressure within the intensely competitive industry. Recognizing a lack of proper understanding of certification at various levels, he addressed the need for corrective actions.

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