Japanese carmaker Toyota has recalled around 50,000 older vehicles in the US after it emerged that airbag inflators, made by the now bankrupt company Takata, could explode and seriously injure or kill drivers.

Last week, the automaker issued a Do Not Drive advisory notice for certain models, covering the 2003-2004 Corolla, 2003-2004 Corolla Matrix and model year 2004-2005 RAV4 vehicles in the US.

In a statement, Toyota said:

“Due to the age of the vehicles, if the airbag deploys, a part inside is more likely to explode and shoot sharp metal fragments which could cause serious injury or death to the driver or passengers.

“Owners should not drive these vehicles until the free safety recall repair has been conducted. Toyota urges owners to contact their local dealer instead of driving their vehicle to be repaired.”

The company behind the airbag inflators, Takata, has caused the biggest motor industry safety recall in history, involving more than 100 million products and over 20 carmakers.

In the US, after over a decade of recalls, lawsuits and criminal investigation, Takata eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2017.

Toyota is having a troubling start to the year. This week, it suspended shipments of some vehicles after irregularities in its certification tests for diesel engines emerged. The tests were developed by Toyota Industries.  

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