Japan automakers expand passenger air bag recalls


Associated Press

Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi announced more recalls for the same possibly defective Takata air bags that Toyota recalled earlier this month after one exploded during scrapping in Japan.

Nissan said Thursday it’s recalling the Presage, X-Trail and other models totaling 83,000 vehicles in Japan, some 6,000 in China, another 49,000 in Europe and 14,000 in other regions. In the U.S., the company will recall certain 2003 and 2004 Pathfinder SUVs and 2004 Sentra compact cars. Exact numbers were still being counted, but a spokesman said this will add tens of thousands of vehicles to a recall from 2013.

The recall by Nissan and other Japanese automakers is meant to address possible problems with passenger side air bags.

Japanese supplier Takata Corp. is under fire for air bag inflators that can explode, shooting out metal and plastic pieces. At least five deaths and dozens of injuries have been linked to the problem worldwide.

Honda is recalling 400,000 vehicles worldwide for the Fit, Stream, CR-V and other models. That includes 175,000 in Japan; 6,000 in North America, excluding the U.S. where a recall has already been carried out; 16,000 in South America; 100,000 in Europe; 70,000 in Asia and 30,000 in other regions.

Mitsubishi recalled 300 Lancer cars in Japan. Mitsubishi said the comparable recall has already been carried out in the U.S.

That brings recalls in Japan over Takata air bags to 3.05 million vehicles. In the U.S. it’s about 11 million; globally it’s around 18 million.

No injuries or accidents have been reported related to the latest problem air bags, the ministry said.

The explosion that sparked the recall for passenger side air bags occurred in November in a scrapyard in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, in a Toyota vehicle.

Japan’s transport ministry said Thursday there were six earlier instances when Takata air bags exploded during scrapping, two in Toyota vehicles and four in Honda vehicles. They all occurred in 2012.

In Japan, air bags are deliberately deployed during scrapping. Toyota recalled 185,000 vehicles in Japan and 5,000 in China for possibly defective passenger-side air bags Dec. 4.

Honda has the largest number of Takata related recalls, as half of its vehicles are equipped with Takata air bags. The recalls total 5.4 million in the U.S. for Honda.

Honda has expanded its recall in the U.S., previously limited to high humidity areas, to the entire country, and says it will apply that recall worldwide as well. Humidity is suspected as a factor in the explosions.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is demanding nationwide recalls only for the driver side air bags. For passenger-side air bags, it says the recall remains limited to high-humidity areas because there’s no data to suggest a problem with them nationwide.