* Second time this year U.S. review clears Corolla
* Corolla airbag complaints similar to other compacts
(Adds Toyota comment, number of vehicles, crash test rating)
WASHINGTON Aug 17 U.S. auto safety regulators
have denied a request to formally investigate complaints
alleging potential airbag failure in certain Toyota Motor Corp
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it
had reviewed a petition by a Williamsburg, Virginia, couple and
eight other complaints and concluded that further investigation
of Corolla airbags would not likely turn up a defect.
The petition and other documents said the vehicle's front
airbags did not deploy after the car struck a deer at 55 miles
per hour in Pennsylvania in November 2009. Neither the driver
nor the passenger suffered serious injuries.
Investigators found that the crash and point of impact did
not sufficiently slow the car enough to activate the airbags.
"Based on the information available at the present time,
NHTSA does not believe that a safety-related defect currently
exists," it said.
The agency said it would continue to monitor any new
A formal investigation would have covered up to 170,000
Toyota said it was pleased with the government's decision.
Toyota ADRs closed down more than 1 percent at $74.66 on
the New York Stock Exchange.
It was the second time this year regulators cleared the
Corolla of possible mechanical problems. NHTSA investigated
steering complaints in 2009 and 2010 Corollas before concluding
in May that it had found no defects.
The compact sedan is a centerpiece of Toyota's lineup and
behind only the Camry as the biggest in the U.S. market with
154,000 vehicles sold this year through July, company figures
Toyota was the subject of massive recalls, mainly in the
United States, that peaked in 2010 for mechanical and equipment
problems related to floormats that jammed accelerators and gas
pedals that did not spring back as designed.
NHTSA also said its consumer complaint database includes
similar reports of potential airbag failure in comparable
compacts made by Ford Motor Co (F.N), Honda Motor Co (7267.T),
Hyundai Motor (005380.KS) and General Motors Co (GM.N).
The agency said it found nothing remarkable in the
complaint rate between the 2008 Corolla and the other
In a frontal crash tests, the model 2005-2008 Corollas
received the highest government safety rating in frontal
(Reporting by John Crawley; Editing by Dave Zimmerman and