Toyota has recalled over a million vehicles across a number of models, due to potential issues with airbag deployment
Toyota has recently recalled 1.12 million vehicles from its Avalon, Corolla, Lexus Es250, ES350 and ES300H, Camry, RAV4, Sienna Hybrid and RX350 Highlander models, due to a suspected issue with airbag deployment.
The issue mainly impacts the Occupant Classification System (OCS) sensors, some of which are suspected of having a short circuit. Models between 2020 and 2022 have mainly been impacted.
These sensors are responsible for identifying who is sitting in the driver and passenger seats, as well as whether a child is sitting in the passenger side seat or whether an inanimate object is there.
In case of a child or small adult, airbags are usually not deployed, as they have been known to cause injuries and even death in these cases before. Airbags also don’t come into the picture in the case of inanimate objects.
In case there really is an issue with the sensors, the airbags may not deploy as they are supposed to. The company has announced that it will replace airbags in the cars that have the issue, for free. Consumers can expect to hear by February 2024 if their cars fall within this category.
However, this is not Toyota’s first rodeo with a recall. Back in 2022, it was forced to call back about 3,500 US RAV4 vehicles, as their OCS sensors were likely to have internal interference. This could have led to passengers being wrongly identified, in case an airbag needed to be deployed.
The safety woes extended to Daihatsu Motor, Toyota’s small-car maker, which has also stopped all its vehicles’ shipments until further notice, following safety concerns, some of which have been ongoing for several years.
This has impacted over 64 models, as well as about 88,000 small cars, for which side-collision safety tests are suspected to have been tampered with. The investigation was carried out by Japan’s transport ministry. Daihatsu could potentially be slammed with consequences as serious as a production certificate ban, depending on the results of the investigation.
According to Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshimasa Hayashi, “This is an extremely regrettable case that undermines the trust of automobile users and is a misconduct that affects the very foundation of the automobile certification system.”
Although Toyota, and by extension, Daihatsu itself, is more than likely to absorb any loss of income that arises from this situation, the fallout could more likely impact the 8,316 odd companies that make up Daihatsu’s supply chain. It could also prompt more safety inspections of other prominent Japanese automakers such as Honda.
Alternatively, Toyota’s rivals, such as Suzuki could see this as a good chance to come into the limelight, especially if they happen to do better in safety tests and investigations.
Daihatsu has also highlighted that it will be looking into various types of financial support for its suppliers until the company can restart vehicle shipments.
On Thursday afternoon, Toyota’s shares had fallen about 4% to ¥2,537.5 (€16.18).