A massive auto recall has six automakers pulling cars off the roads because of an air bag defect. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are among the companies recalling more 3.4 million vehicles. Apparently the potentially dangerous defect can send shrapnel flying into the vehicle.
The air bags have a faulty mechanism that fails to route gas into them on impact. Instead of inflating, the bags can launch metal and plastic parts into the passenger compartment of the car. Some BMW AG and General Motors models have also been affected.
Most of the cars being recalled have model years between 2001 and 2003. Some of the specific models being recalled include:
- the Toyota Corolla company, matrix hatchback, Sequoia SUV, Tundra pickup and Lexus SC 430.
- the Honda Civic company, CR-V small SUV and Odyssey minivan
- the Nissan Maxima midsize sedan, Pathfinder SUV , Sentra company, Infiniti FX crossover and QX4 SUV
The maker of the air bags said that no one has been yet been injured by the defect but there have been six reports of the bags deploying improperly while cars are being driven. If a faulty air bag does result in an auto accident or injury, the victim could potentially have a personal injury claim for product liability.
In this case, the defective air bags all came from a common source, the Japanese parts supplier Takata Corp. In product liability cases, a manufacturer can be held liable for either a design or manufacturing defect that causes accident or injury. At the same time, the distributor of a product, or someone who repairs and resells the product, may also face liability if they knew or had reason to know the product was unsafe and failed to take the necessary precautions.