Toyota warns 50,000 US vehicle owners to stop driving

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Toyota warns 50,000 US vehicle owners to stop driving

Toyota has urged owners of 50,000 older vehicles in the US to get immediate repairs as air bag inflators made by Takata could explode and kill them.

The “Do Not Drive” advisory covers some of the world’s biggest carmaker’s models from 2003 to 2005.

Since 2009, more than 30 deaths have been linked to air bag inflators produced by Takata.

Toyota says “if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments”.

The vehicles involved are the 2003-2004 model Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix, and 2004-2005 RAV4.

Serious issues with Takata air bag inflators have resulted in the biggest motor industry safety recall in history, involving more than 100 million products and over 20 carmakers.

After more than a decade and a half of recalls, lawsuits and a criminal investigation in the US, Takata filed for bankruptcy in 2017. Its assets were sold to Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems, for about $1.6bn (£1.3bn).

This is not the only issue Toyota has been dealing with in recent months.

This week, the Japanese car giant suspended shipments of some vehicles because of irregularities in certification tests for diesel engines, which were developed by Toyota Industries.

An investigation found that Toyota Industries employees manipulated horsepower output tests.

The affected engines are used in 10 models sold globally, including the Hiace van and Land Cruiser sport utility vehicle, Toyota said.

Toyota is also seeking to resolve a case of misconduct at small car specialist Daihatsu, after it admitted falsifying safety tests dating back more than three decades.

Late last year, Daihatsu headquarters were raided by Japan’s transport ministry and global shipments of the vehicles were suspended. The government has since revoked certification of three Daihatsu models.

When asked this week about the scandals at Toyota’s subsidiaries, president Koji Sato acknowledged that workers had felt pressure to cut corners in an intensely competitive industry.

“We recognise that not only people at the testing site but also management did not have proper understanding of certification,” he said.