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Airbag Recall Alert

Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Company and BMW and others are recalling millions vehicles sold around the world because airbags supplied by Takata Corp are at risk of catching fire or injuring passengers.

This the single largest recall ever for airbags made by Takata, the world's second-largest supplier of airbags and seatbelts The recall, also including vehicles from Honda Motor Co Ltd and Mazda Motor Corp.

In the current Takata recall, the airbag for the front passenger seat may not inflate correctly because of a manufacturing defect in the propellant used in the airbag inflator, the companies said. As a result, there is a risk of fires starting or of passengers being injured by metal fragments shooting up toward the windshield or down into the passenger foot well.

The recall covers some of the top-selling Japanese cars, including Toyota's Camry and Corolla, and rivals like the Nissan Maxima and Honda Civic. All of the vehicles in question were manufactured in or after 2000.

The recall is not welcome news for Toyota, which took a hit to its reputation after it recalled nearly 19 million vehicles globally from late 2009 to early 2011 due to unintended acceleration claims.

Takata said it learned of the problem from an automaker it did not identify in October 2011 after an airbag deployment in Japan. It learned of a Honda accident in Puerto Rico the following month, according to documents filed with U.S. safety regulators.

From February 2012 through June last year, Takata could not reproduce the problem in testing, but that autumn the supplier was alerted to three additional incidents - two in Puerto Rico and one in Maryland - according to documents filed with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

By October 2012, Takata concluded it was possible that the propellant in certain wafers made at its plant in Moses Lake, Washington, might be inadequately compressed, which could lead to the rupture, according to NHTSA documents.

By March this year, it also discovered that some wafers used in inflators made at a plant in Monclova, Mexico, for a year ending in late October 2002 may have been exposed to excess moisture, which could lead to a rupture, according to the NHTSA documents.

Takata claims it is only aware of only six cases where an inflator ruptured in vehicles in the field - four in the United States and two in Japan - as well as six cases in salvage yards in Japan, according to NHTSA documents.

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