By Ibiyemi Seun
Toyota said it will recall 3.4 million vehicles worldwide because of an electronic defect that can result in air bags not deploying in crashes.
The recall, which includes 2.9 million U.S. vehicles, covers 2011-2019 Corolla, 2011-2013 Matrix, 2012-2018 Avalon and 2013-2018 Avalon Hybrid vehicles and is tied to a report of one fatal crash.
The vehicles may have an electronic control unit that does not have adequate protection against electrical noise that can occur in crashes, which could lead to incomplete or non-deployment of the air bags. It could also impede the operation of seat-belt pretensioners.
In April, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expanded a probe into 12.3 million potentially defective air bags covering a number of automakers, including the vehicles Toyota is recalling.
NHTSA said in April it had identified two frontal crash events, including one fatal crash “involving Toyota products where (electrical overstress) is suspected as the likely cause” of air bags not deploying. Both involved newer Corolla cars.
NHTSA said the air bags under investigation were installed in more than 12 million vehicles from 2010 through 2019 sold by Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Mitsubishi.
They were equipped with an air bag control unit initially produced by TRW Automotive Holdings Corp, which is now owned by ZF Friedrichshafen.
In total, NHTSA said as many as eight deaths could be tied to the issue.