(Corrects second paragraph to say more than 7 million, not 6.5
million; corrects bullet point to say the same)
* Takata says more vehicles could be recalled
* Record-keeping errors at plant in Mexico
* Honda, Nissan, Mazda check for problem
* 7 mln cars with Takata airbags recalled since late 2008
By Yoko Kubota
TOKYO, June 11 Japanese airbag maker Takata
Corp's safety crisis deepened on Wednesday after the
world's biggest carmaker Toyota Motor Corp recalled
650,000 more vehicles in Japan, and the supplier cautioned
further fixes may be needed.
The latest recall brought to more than 7 million the total
number of cars equipped with Takata airbags to be called back
worldwide over the last five years.
Takata, the world's No.2 manufacturer of auto safety
equipment, said there could be more recalls from other
automakers because of problems tracking potential defects with
airbag inflators that date back over a decade.
The Tokyo-based auto supplier said it had discovered
record-keeping errors at a plant in Mexico where potentially
faulty airbag inflators were made in 2001 and 2002.
In 2013, carmakers including Toyota, Honda, Nissan
Motor Co and BMW recalled about 3.6 million
vehicles because of flaws in Takata airbag inflators that could
cause them to explode in an accident.
Takata did not disclose how much it expected Wednesday's
Toyota recall would cost. The company's shares were down over 4
percent when the Tokyo market closed.
Previously, Takata told U.S. safety regulators that it
improperly stored chemicals and botched the manufacture of the
explosive propellants used to inflate airbags.
The company has also said it kept inadequate quality-control
records which made it impossible to identify vehicles with
potentially defective and dangerous airbag inflators.
The Takata-related recall in 2013 was the largest
airbag-related recall in history and came after a series of
recalls, accidents and at least two deaths allegedly caused by
Toyota said it was expanding a recall it announced in April
2013 that involved 2.14 million vehicles manufactured between
2000 and 2004. The serial numbers Takata provided for
potentially flawed inflators had been incomplete, Toyota said.
In an unusual step, Toyota also said it would instruct its
dealers in the United States and other overseas markets to begin
replacing suspect Takata inflators on all of the vehicles
covered by last year's recall. Previously, the automaker had
asked its dealers to inspect the airbags and only replace those
that were judged to be defective.
"We have judged that it is more certain to replace
everything," Toyota spokesman Naoki Sumino said.
Toyota's expanded recall comes as rival General Motors Co
faces scrutiny over why it took more than a decade to
come to terms with ignition switch problems that resulted in at
least 13 deaths.
Honda, Nissan and Mazda also said they were investigating
whether they needed to recall more vehicles due to problems
tracking faulty Takata parts. BMW said it was not aware of any
impact to its vehicles.
In January, Takata began investigating whether there were
other vehicles with potentially faulty inflators not covered by
the previous recalls after being contacted by Toyota, company
spokesman Toyohiro Hishikawa said.
Toyota spokesman Ryo Sakai said the automaker had been
notified of one case in which a defective front passenger-side
airbag inflator caused a seat cover to burn and two cases where
the inflator ruptured when the airbag deployed.
Toyota vehicles covered by the recall include the Corolla
and Camry sedans, and Tundra trucks.
The inflators under investigation were manufactured between
September 2001 and September 2002 at Takata's Mexico plant,
Takata said. Some of the explosive wafers used in the airbag
inflator may have been exposed to excessive moisture or pressed
into shape with too little force, it said.
That could cause the inflator to explode when the airbag is
deployed, potentially sending bits of shrapnel into the vehicle,
the previous investigation found.
It was not immediately clear how many Takata airbag
inflators could have defects. Takata has notified other
automakers besides Toyota about the issue, Hishikawa said. He
declined to name those companies.
Takata will be supplying the inflators that will be used as
replacements in the Toyota recall, Hishikawa said.
The Takata problems may benefit rivals like Sweden's Autoliv
, where executives have noticed an increased focus on
quality among clients since its Japanese competitor's first
airbag recall last year.
(Additional reporting by Ed Taylor and Helena Soderpalm;
Editing by Chris Gallagher and Jeremy Laurence)