Toyota Motor Corp. will recall more than 6 million vehicles worldwide to fix a variety of problems, including a wiring issue that might prevent air bags from deploying.
The Japanese automaker issued 6.8 million recalls, but because in some cases multiple problems affect the same model, it amounts to 6.4 million vehicles. The global recalls include about 30 models in Japan, the U.S., Europe and other regions.
About 1.8 million of the affected vehicles are in the U.S.
These latest recalls brought the number of vehicles called back by automakers in the U.S. to nearly 13 million so far this year. That’s already well over half the 22 million cars recalled in all of 2013, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Automakers are on pace to match the recent high of 30.8 million vehicles recalled in 2004.
Toyota said it will recall 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. for the air bag issue. The vehicles are the 2009-10 Corollas, 2009-10 Matrixes, 2008-10 Highlanders, 2009-10 Tacoma trucks, 2006-08 RAV4s and 2006-10 Yaris compact cars.
About 40,500 Pontiac Vibes from the 2009-10 model years are included in the Toyota recall. Toyota designed and engineered the Vibe for Pontiac. GM will service customers with these vehicles when Toyota makes the parts available.
The driver’s air bag module in the Toyota and Pontiac vehicles is attached to a spiral cable assembly with electrical connections that could become damaged when the steering wheel is turned. If this occurs, the air bag warning lamp will light up. The driver’s air bag also could become deactivated, preventing it from deploying in a crash.
Toyota said it has no reports of deaths or injuries resulting from the problem, but the automaker plans to replace the spiral cable assembly with an improved version that won’t become damaged as the steering wheel turns.
Toyota also said it will recall an additional 472,500 vehicles in the U.S. to fix an issue with the front seats. The cars are the 2006-10 Yaris hatchbacks, 2007-10 Yaris sedans and 2008-10 Scion xD hatchbacks.
The rail of the driver seat in the cars and the front passenger seat of three-door models uses springs to lock the seats in place after they are adjusted. The springs can break, leaving the seat unlocked and allowing it to move in a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the occupant. But Toyota said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries caused by this condition.
Earlier this year, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine to settle a four-year federal criminal investigation into whether it properly told regulators about safety complaints concerning sudden acceleration of its vehicles. It also has paid NHTSA about $66 million in fines in recent years for not promptly recalling vehicles.
These latest actions bring the number of vehicles Toyota has recalled in the U.S. to about 3 million this year. It recalled nearly 5.3 million vehicles last year, topping all other automakers for the second consecutive year.
But the recall leader so far this year is General Motors, which has called back 6 million vehicles, including more than 2 million for an ignition switch issue linked to 13 deaths.
GM faces multiple regulatory and congressional investigations into why it waited until this year to recall the cars with the switch issue, even though it knew about the problem for more than a decade.
On Tuesday, the NHTSA fined GM $28,000 for missing a deadline to provide key information that the safety agency had requested as part of its investigation. The NHTSA plans to fine GM an additional $7,000 daily until the automaker turns over the information.
GM said in a statement that it “has worked tirelessly from the start to be responsive to NHTSA’s special order and has fully cooperated with the agency to help it have a full understanding of the facts.”