THOUSANDS of Toyota owners in the UK are still driving cars with potentially dangerous airbags – more than six years after problems with the devices first emerged.
The Japanese manufacturer yesterday issued a safety recall for more than 30,000 UK-owned cars, saying the move was ‘part of the ongoing safety recall process around airbags manufactured by Takata’.
A potential 37,410 cars manufactured between February 1997 and August 1999 are affected – although some may no longer be on the road as they were built so long ago. The models affected are the RAV4, Yaris, Starlet and Celica.
A statement issued by Toyota yesterday said: ‘As a precaution and in line with the DVSA recall code of practice, we will be notifying owners of affected vehicles in due course and replacing the airbag inflator or the airbag assembly at no cost to the vehicle owner.
‘Concerned owners can check if their vehicle is affected by visiting their local retailer, using our recall checker facility at www.toyota.co.uk or by phoning 0800 044 3720.’
The numbers of each car affected are as follows – RAV4: 12,756; Yaris: 8,713; Starlet: 11,736 and Celica: 4,205.
Millions of cars fitted with Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide in recent years, including models from Honda, BMW, Subaru and more. Reports of problems with the devices first emerged as far back as 2013.
In some cases, faults with the inflation mechanism have propelled shrapnel into the cabin when the airbags are deployed, causing serious injury or even death. Other problems can lead to them failing to inflate properly in the event of an accident.
Toyota says the new UK recall is aimed at eliminating an issue that arises when moisture gets into the propellant of the airbag.
The manufacturer said: ‘This could result in abnormal deployment of the airbag or the chance of an inflator rupture. If an abnormal deployment or inflator rupture occurs, this could increase the risk of injury to vehicle occupants.’