Japanese automakers on Wednesday sharply expanded recalls of cars equipped with air bags made by Takata, adding 6.5 million vehicles worldwide to the tally of those deemed to contain potentially dangerous components.
The new recalls, by Toyota and Nissan, included more recent models than the companies had previously said needed fixing. The air bag mechanisms in some cars may be degrading over time, Toyota said.
About 25 million vehicles have now been recalled over the air bag problem, which has been linked to six deaths and more than 100 injuries. Defective inflaters can burst when triggered, spraying shards of metal at a vehicle’s occupants.
Toyota said in an email that in an examination of Takata air bags, “certain types of air bag inflaters were found to have a potential for moisture intrusion over time.” As a result, the company said, the inflaters might not work properly during a crash.
The company said there was still uncertainty over the cause of air bag failures, however, because “the relationship between moisture intrusion and the risk of inflater rupture is still very much unknown.”
Automakers and Takata, which is based in Japan, were already struggling to provide fixes for the vast number of affected vehicles. Last month, the head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Mark R. Rosekind, said Takata was moving too slowly. The regulator is fining the company up to $14,000 a day in an effort to speed its response.
The latest recall could grow further. Honda said it was also preparing to issue a fresh recall, though it declined to elaborate on the number of vehicles involved.
Toyota and Nissan said they were not aware of any injuries stemming from faulty air bags in the vehicles recalled Wednesday, which were manufactured between 2003 and 2007. They described the recalls as “investigative” and “preventive.”
About 5 million of the vehicles recalled Wednesday were Toyotas.
Ten automakers have recalled vehicles over the air bag problem. Most of the affected cars and trucks were manufactured in the early 2000s, though some manufacturers, including Chrysler and Ford, have recalled vehicles produced as late as 2007 or 2008.