Thursday, April 11, 2013
Takata has also supplied the faulty air bags to foreign carmakers, said Toyohiro Hishikawa, a spokesman for the Tokyo-listed components maker. The company’s shares tumbled almost 10 percent Thursday.
The recall — the biggest since Toyota pulled back more than seven million vehicles in October — underscores the risk of global supply chains as automakers increasingly rely on a handful of suppliers for common or similar parts to cut costs.
Toyota, the world’s biggest-selling automaker, is recalling about 1.73 million vehicles produced between November 2000 and March 2004, including 580,000 vehicles in North America and 490,000 vehicles in Europe.
Some air bags protecting the front passenger seat may not inflate correctly because of a problem with the propellant used in the air bag inflator, said the Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai.
The Tokyo-based Takata supplies air bags and seat belts to major automakers outside Japan, including Daimler and Ford Motor, as well as to the Japanese brands.
A second Takata spokesman, Hideyuki Matsumoto, said the defect had been caused by problems in the manufacturing process.
There were no injuries or deaths reported as a result of the faulty air bags, Toyota said. The automaker said there was a risk of fires or injuries because of the flawed inflators.
Toyota will exchange the faulty inflators for new ones, a fix that is expected to take about an hour to two-and-a-half hours for most models, Mr. Sakai said. He declined to give the costs related to the recall.
“The inflators themselves are not so expensive, but there is the cost to cover for the hours spent to fix the problem,” said Kohei Takahashi, an auto analyst at JPMorgan in Japan.
Honda said it was recalling about 1.14 million vehicles worldwide. Nissan Motor said that it was recalling about 480,000 vehicles globally and that there might be more. Mazda Motor said it was recalling about 45,500 vehicles.
Takata estimates about two million vehicles use the defective air bag, Mr. Matsumoto said.
The air bag problem, announced during Japanese trading hours, hit Takata’s shares much harder than it did those of automakers.
Takata’s shares plunged 9 percent to close at ¥1,819, or $18.26.
Shares in Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mazda, which continue to be supported by a weakening yen and Japan’s new economic policies, were up between 3.1 and 5.8 percent, outpacing a 2 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei.