The air bags lack a drying agent to prevent the buildup of moisture, a flaw blamed for air-bag explosions that spray shrapnel into vehicle cabins - a problem linked to more than a dozen deaths and over 100 injuries globally.
The recall includes 1.16 million vehicles in Japan, 1.47 million in Europe and 820,000 in China produced between April 2006 and December 2014, Toyota said in an emailed statement. The latest recall announcement doesn’t include models sold in the U.S., where Toyota has already announced a recall of cars made during the same period, the company said.
The recall includes a second round of recalls of around 20,000 vehicles first recalled in 2010. Those vehicles, produced between May 2000 and November 2001, had faulty Takata air bags replaced with a new set that still lacked a drying agent. The latest recall will install air bags that have the drying agent.
The defective air bags become riskier as they age. Takata uses ammonium nitrate in its inflaters, a chemical that can become unstable with prolonged exposure to moisture and heat.
Takata has been ramping up production of new air bags to help car makers meet recall requirements. “We will cooperate with the authorities and car makers and do our best to manufacture and supply replacement products,” a Takata spokesman said.
In June, some auto makers admitted to equipping new vehicles with rupture-prone Takata air bags that lacked a drying agent. Those vehicles will have to be recalled by the end of 2018.
The latest recalls are part of a larger effort by more than a dozen auto makers to replace tens-of-millions of faulty Takata air bags. The total number of air bags to be recalled is expected reach 70 million in the U.S. alone.
Takata is expected to reimburse car makers for at least a portion of the recall costs. It is looking for a buyer to provide it the cash infusion it needs to keep its factories running and producing replacement air bags. The company is also weighing a bankruptcy filing as a way to bring a buyer on board.
Bidders for Takata have been meeting in New York with car makers affected by the recalls. After this, a steering committee appointed by Takata’s management and financial advisory firm Lazard Ltd. will narrow the bidders to two finalists.