Japanese car manufacturers, Toyota and Honda, announced the recall of millions of vehicles over safety concerns. Eight fatal crashes that are being investigated included Toyota vehicles. Companies like Hyundai, Kia, and Fiat Chrysler previously recalled their vehicles with problematic airbags. Toyota and Honda have separately announced the recall of unsafe vehicles as well.
Toyota will be recalling 3.4m vehicles globally, 2.9m of which will be recalled in the United States. Honda will be recalling 2.7m vehicles, 2.4m of which are in the US and another 300k in Canada.
Models being recalled by Toyota are Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Avalon, and Avalon HV, which were produced between 2010 and 2019. Honda will be recalling vehicles that have the Takata airbag systems installed, including some Acuras which have been produced between 1996 and 2003.
The recall of the Toyota vehicles is due to defects in the electronic control unit (ECU) which controls the airbags and seat belt pretensioners. The seat belt pretensioners are supposed to tighten to hold the occupants back when the vehicle is impacted. At the same time, the ECU is supposed to deploy the airbags. Both mechanisms need to work together to ensure that the riders remain safe in case of a crash.
Sky News reported that the ECU manufactured by ZF-TRW is vulnerable to interference. Toyota, Honda, Fiat Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi use ZF-TRW components in their vehicles. Interference can prevent the ECU from deploying the airbag and hinder the functions of the seat belt pretensioners. US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is investigating eight cases where the ZF-TRW system failed, causing fatal crashes.
CNN pointed out that the Honda vehicles being recalled have the controversial Takata airbag system. The Japanese airbag maker declared bankruptcy after it was discovered that the faulty airbag inflators exploded on impact in many cases. Honda claims that the vehicles being recalled have different models of airbags.
Honda has asked customers to get their vehicles inspected. However, Honda has made it clear that customers with faulty airbag systems might have to wait a long time for replacement parts. The automaker will be able to offer free inspection and replacements next year.