Toyota recalls vehicles due to air bag-related defect

Automaker Toyota – which operates its largest manufacturing plant right here in Kentucky – has recalled an estimated 49,000 vehicles in North America to repair an electrical problem that may prevent its air bags from inflating in a crash.

The recall primarily affects 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid cars; 2016 Lexus RX vehicles; and 2015-2016 Lexus NX vehicles. Toyota made the announcement on Jan. 31. The recall, however, affects an estimated 645,000 vehicles worldwide.

Visit Toyota Recall page

Other vehicles included in the recall are some Toyota Alphard, Vellfire, Sienta, Noah, Voxy, Esquire, Probox, Succeed, Corolla, Highlander, Levin and Hilux models. All were manufactured between May 2015 and March 2016. Affected vehicle owners can learn more by visiting the Toyota Recall page, and enter their vehicle identification number (VIN) for up-to-date information.

The recall doesn’t appear to affect any of the vehicles made at the Georgetown, Kentucky plant, which makes models such as Lexus ES 350, Camry sedan, Camry Hybrid sedan, Avalon sedan, and Avalon Hybrid sedan.

Problem with air bag sensor

The problem: Insulation surrounding the affected air bag sensors could peel away, creating an open circuit and expose the sensor. Affected vehicle owners are encouraged to visit Toyota dealers, who will inspect the serial numbers on the sensor free of charge. Toyota plans to notify owners by letter beginning in late March.

This matter is not related to the Takata air bag recall, which affected 19 different automakers and more than 37 million vehicles in the United States.

Kentucky’s Toyota plant

The recall news is important to Kentucky, a state with a significant motor vehicle culture. Kentuckians love to drive their cars and trucks through towns in the Appalachia region as well as the suburbs and urban centers of Louisville, Lexington and Bowling Green.

Kentucky is the country’s third-largest automotive manufacturer, trailing only Michigan and Ohio. Our state is home to Toyota’s largest vehicle manufacturing plant in the world. Since 1988, more than 11 million vehicles have been produced on assembly lines in Georgetown. The plant employs more than 8,000 people.