MARKHAM, Ont. -- Toyota, Honda, Nissan and three other automakers are recalling nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide, including at least 200,000 in Canada, because of defective airbags that can send shrapnel flying into the passenger compartment.
The recall mainly affects cars sold by Japanese automakers in North America, Europe and Japan, including less than 50,000 made by Mazda. However, a small number of cars made by Germany's BMW AG and General Motors Co. are also involved.
The front passenger airbags all were made by the same parts supplier, Japan's Takata Corp. They have faulty inflator mechanisms that don't route gas into the airbags. Instead, the high-pressure gas can launch plastic and metal parts from the airbags into the cars' passenger areas.
Takata says no one has been hurt, but there have been six incidents of the airbags deploying improperly. The recall is so large because many automakers use common parts on multiple models to cut costs and simplify manufacturing.
Transport Canada said owners should take their vehicles to a dealer as soon as they receive notification from the vehicle manufacturer and the problem will be fixed for free.
In Canada, the recall covers almost 81,000 Honda Civics and about 11,000 Acura 1.7 EL vehicles from the 2001-03 model years; 6,140 CR-V vehicles from 2002-03 and almost 10,000 Odysseys from the 2002 model year.
Toyota Canada said vehicles being recalled for inspection in Canada include certain model-year 2003 Toyota Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra vehicles, and model-year 2002 and 2003 Lexus SC 430 vehicles.
Nissan has recalled 480,000 vehicles globally, with about 20,000 in Canada among the 290,000 being recalled in North America.
Nissan Canada said models expected to be impacted include the Nissan Maxima, Pathfinder and Sentra, and the Infiniti I35, QX4 and FX models.
Also affected under the same recall are 45,000 RX-8 and Mazda 6 at Mazda Motor Corp. However, the recall in Canada involves just 26 of those vehicles, all from the 2004 model year.
-- The Canadian Press, files from AP