Japan's three top carmakers to expand Takata air bag recalls by millions

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Japan's three top carmakers to expand Takata air bag recalls by millions
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 19: NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind (L) and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx (R) speak about the Takata air bag recall during a news conference at the Department of Transportation May 19, 2015 in Washington, DC. It was announced that the Takata Corp. has agreed to declare 33.8 million of its inflator mechanisms defective which will bring the number up to about 34 million autos, making it one of the largest consumer product recalls ever. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The logo of the Toyota automobile company is seen on the window of a company showroom in the Indian capital New Delhi on May 13, 2015. Japanese auto giants Toyota and Nissan on May 13, 2015, said they were recalling 6.5 million vehicles globally in the latest chapter of an exploding airbag crisis linked to several deaths. The world's biggest automaker said its recall of five million vehicles affected 35 models globally produced between 2003 and 2007, while Nissan said it was calling back 1.56 million vehicles also due to faulty airbags made by embattled supplier Takata. AFP PHOTO / Chandan KHANNA (Photo credit should read Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images)
Japanese auto parts maker Takata's child car seats are displayed at a showroom in Tokyo on May 20, 2015. Takata is doubling a recall of US cars with potentially deadly airbags to a record nearly 34 million vehicles, sending the firm's shares plunging in Tokyo. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
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Japan's three biggest carmakers said on Wednesday they would expand a huge global recall triggered by potentially fatal air bags made by Takata Corp, saying they were taking back millions of vehicles worldwide for investigation.

Toyota Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co said they were recalling some 6.5 million vehicles globally, while Honda Motor Co Ltd said it would follow suit, without giving further details.

Wednesday's announcements raise to roughly 31 million the number of vehicles recalled worldwide since 2008 over Takata air bag inflators, which can erupt with too much force, spraying shrapnel inside the car.

The Takata-linked recall is now on par with a General Motors Co recall of some 30 million vehicles last year for a range of defects, including faulty ignition switches.

Asked about the latest recalls, a Takata spokeswoman said a probe into the causes for the air bag defects was ongoing and that the company continued to cooperate with the automakers.

Six deaths have been linked to the defective Takata airbags, all on cars made by Honda, which announced disappointing profit forecasts last week citing high quality-related costs.

Toyota and Nissan said their recalls were precautionary and that no accidents or injuries had been reported.

They did not give further details about the suspected defects, but in documents submitted to Japan's transport ministry, the automakers said they had identified problems with inflators that were not sufficiently sealed and that were at risk of allowing in moisture during extended use.

Toyota, Japan's biggest automaker, said it would recall just under 5 million Corolla, Vitz and other models, mostly in Japan and Europe.

Many of the models were built between March 2003 and November 2007, and include 1.36 million to be recalled in Japan.

Nissan said it was recalling about 1.56 million cars globally over the same issue. It did not give further details about the models affected.

Takata faces multiple class action lawsuits in the United States and Canada as well as a U.S. criminal investigation and a regulatory probe.

The company said last week it expects to return to profit in the business year started in April even though it has made few provisions for costs related to the massive global recall.

(Additional reporting by Maki Shiraki; Editing by Chris Gallagher, Miral Fahmy and William Mallard)

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