Huge Car Recall Over Faulty Airbags

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More than three million cars - including 152,000 on British roads - are recalled because of possible problems with passenger airbags.

A Japanese transport ministry official said four carmakers submitted reports to about the problems and the recall would reach a combined total of 3.39 million.

The four makes are Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mazda (BSE: MAZDALTD.BO - news) , the official said.

A Toyota spokesman said his company was recalling a total of 1.73 million vehicles, manufactured between November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) 2000 and March 2004 in Japan and abroad, due to a defect in passenger-side airbags.

A Toyota UK spokesman told Sky News the recall would affect some 76,000 cars in the UK. Across Europe the figure is 490,000.

Its affected vehicles are all between 9 and 13 years old, sold from November 2000 until March 2004, and include Corollas, Yaris, Avensis, Avensis Verso, Picnic, Camry and Lexus SC430.

The Corolla and Avensis recall involves cars manufactured in Britain using at-risk Japanese components.

He said five problems had been recorded worldwide - none in the UK - and no accidents or injuries had occurred in Toyota vehicles.

Toyota's share price on the Nikkei went up 4% after the recall was announced.

Honda is recalling 1.135 million vehicles worldwide, and a spokesman told Sky News that the recall would be made for 15,400 Civics, CR-Vs and FR-Vs in the UK.

Nissan said it would recall 480,000 vehicles globally, with 59,058 requiring modifications in the UK. No injuries had been reported.

Its affected British cars were built between 2000-2004 and the models include the X-Trail, Patrol, Almera, Almera Tino, Terrano II and the Navara.

A UK spokesman said: "Nissan is conducting a voluntary safety recall campaign to address the issue identified ... and replace the front passenger air bag inflator. Nissan plans to begin notifying customers within 30 days."

Mazda UK has confirmed to Sky News that the recall will affect some 1,900 British cars.

The recalled air bags were made by Japan's Takata Corporation and are also believed to affect some non-Japanese manufacturers, company spokesman Akiko Watanabe said.

As a result, additional recalls are expected to be made later in the day.

A source told Sky News some airbags were constructed with excess gas canister charges.

A Honda representative said the problem stems from two human errors during production by the supplier.

Spokeswoman Akemi Ando said a worker allegedly forgot to turn on the switch for a system weeding out defective products and parts were improperly stored, which exposed them to humidity.

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