Toyota will take responsibility for all affected Toyota vehicles that have been imported to New Zealand, rectify Airbag issue at no cost to the customer.

Toyota New Zealand has confirmed the detection of a passenger-side front airbag disabling device fitted to 8,373 used vehicle imports from Japan.

Several automotive brands, including Toyota, are giving vehicle owners in Japan subject to the Takata airbag recall the option of having the device fitted.

However, the installation of this device contradicts New Zealand transport law and for this reason Toyota New Zealand is recalling the affected vehicles.

“Unfortunately these vehicles have made it to our shores without being returned to their original state, and without any indication of which specific vehicles have had the device fitted,” says Spencer Morris, General Manager of Customer Services for Toyota New Zealand.

“Our priority is to contact the affected customers and we will be encouraging them to get in touch with their local Toyota dealership to have the passenger-side front airbag reinstated to its intended working condition.  In many cases the potentially faulty airbag will also be replaced.”

Of the 8,373 vehicles imported a total of 7,491 have been registered, allowing NZTA to provide ownership details.  All affected customers can expect to receive a letter by early next week informing them their vehicle is affected. 

Toyota will take responsibility for all affected Toyota vehicles that have been imported to New Zealand, irrespective of the importer, at no cost to the customer.

The presence of a device can be confirmed visually by a trained technician, with the rectification time taking up to one hour depending on the vehicle.

The visual check for this device has now been added to Toyota New Zealand’s import vehicle selection process, to ensure the device is removed before the vehicle is sold in New Zealand. 

As this affects several automotive brands imported from Japan, Toyota NZ understand NZTA is intending to introduce this inspection to the entry compliance process.  This will ensure vehicles are not deemed compliant until the airbag is reverted back to its original condition.

There are nine New Zealand new Lexus RX vehicles involved in this recall.

Currently there have been no imported used vehicles identified in New Zealand involved, however investigation is still ongoing.

Involved vehicles are equipped with a front passenger air bag which contains stored, compressed gas in the inflator. A component in the airbag assembly may have been improperly welded and/or misassembled. If this occurs, the stored gas may escape without a deployment signal and result in the partial inflation of the air bag which in the event of a crash could increase the risk of injury.

For all involved vehicles, Toyota and Lexus dealers will replace the front passenger air bag assembly with a new one at no cost to customers.


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