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‘Do Not Drive’: Toyota Recalls Thousands of Vehicles Over Deadly Airbag Fears TIME

Toyota Recall

On Tuesday, Toyota issued a “do not drive” advisory for 2003-2004 Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix, and model year 2004-2005 RAV4 vehicles because of their use of Takata airbags that could explode and kill them. This comes after a much bigger recall was announced in December, impacting 1.12 million vehicles also involving vehicle air bags. 

“If the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments which could cause SERIOUS INJURY or DEATH,” the Japanese automaker wrote in its announcement.

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Toyota said it will repair or replace the airbags free of charge. In addition to 50,000 vehicles in the U.S., some 7,300 are being recalled in Canada. 

Toyota has advised customers not to drive their vehicles to their dealership and that the automaker will offer mobile repair at the vehicle’s location or towing services. If you own an affected vehicle, you can learn more by inputting your vehicle identification number on Toyota.com/recall.

Takata airbags have led to some of the largest recalls in motor vehicle history, impacting over 100 million products and more than 20 automobile manufacturers. The U.S. Department of Transportation says that these airbags have been responsible for at least 27 deaths and 400 injuries in the U.S. since they were introduced.

Years of recalls, lawsuits, and a criminal investigation in the U.S. saw Takata file for bankruptcy in 2017. Its assets were sold to the Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems. 

The latest recall comes amid other struggles for Toyota. The Japanese carmaker said on Monday it would halt shipment of various models with diesel engines after learning an affiliate misled Japanese officials over certification tests. The models affected include the Toyota Land Cruiser 300 and Toyota Hilux pick up truck sold in Africa, Asia, and Europe, as well as the Toyota Innova sold in Asia, the Washington Post reported.

When asked about the scandals at Toyota’s subsidiaries, the company’s president Koji Sata cited workplace pressures and a highly competitive industry. “We recognise that not only people at the testing site but also management did not have proper understanding of certification,” he said.

On Tuesday, Toyota reported a record 11.2 million vehicle sales in 2023. It remains the world’s top selling automaker.

Anna Gordon

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