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Japanese car makers deflated by air bag recall

Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota have announced that they are to recall a combined total of 3.4 million cars due to an issue with passenger seat airbags. The problem is widespread in UK models with almost 2,000 Mazdas, 15,000 Hondas, 60,000 Nissans and 76,000 Toyotas being affected in this country.

Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota have announced that they are to recall a combined total of 3.4 million cars due to an issue with passenger seat airbags. The problem is widespread in UK models with almost 2,000 Mazdas, 15,000 Hondas, 60,000 Nissans and 76,000 Toyotas being affected in this country. The affected cars have all been fitted with the same airbag from Japanese supplier Takata. Tests have shown that some of these airbags have too much pressure which means that they goes off with a bigger bang than intended when activated. This can apparently cause bits of metal and plastic to be ejected into the windscreen and passenger foot well.

All four Japanese manufacturers have stressed that the fault will not affect passengers unless there is a crash as there is no evidence that the bags will inflate accidentally. So far there have been no reported incidents in the UK although five have been reported in the US and Japan. No one has been injured due to the fault. The Toyota models affected are the Toyota Corolla, Yaris, Avensis, Avensis Verso, Picnic and Camry. The cars were produced between November 2000 and March 2004 with registration plates between X and 54.

Affected Honda models were manufactured between 2001 and 2003. Most are CRVs, with just 400 Jazz, Civic and Stream models. The Nissan cars were made between 2000 and 2004 and the models affected are the X-Trail, Patrol, Almera, Almera Tino, Terrano II and the 4x4 Pickup. The only Mazda model to be affected is the Mazda 6 produced between 2002 and 2003. All four manufacturers will be writing to customers within the next 30 days. Customers who don't want to wait to find out if their car is affected can contact their local dealership.

Customers whose cars are affected can expect their dealers to make an appointment to replace the airbags. The procedure should take less than 90 minutes to complete and should not require an overnight stay for the car. Owners will not be charged for the replacement. Owners will not benefit financially though, as no compensation will be offered. The code of conduct which is put in place by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) governs manufacturer recall schemes and disallows any offers of compensation. According to a Toyota spokesman, "This is to stop accusations of compensation being seen as a bribe to keep customers quiet, for example."
 

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