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Business

Mazda, Mitsubishi act on Takata airbags

Days after Japanese car parts maker Takata doubled the number of vehicles being recalled due to the company's defective airbags, auto giants Mazda and Mitsubishi added more vehicles to the recall.

Japanese auto makers Mazda and Mitsubishi announced on Friday they would recall about 624,000 more vehicles to replace air bag inflators made by Takata.

Mazda said it was recalling about 112,000 vehicles including the Atenza sedan, Bongo van and two models it builds for Nissan Motor Co and Mitsubishi Motors. A spokeswoman said it was still working out plans for any recall overseas.

At the same time, Mitsubishi Motors is calling back about 100,000 cars in Japan and 412,000 overseas, the company said.

The companies' decision comes days after Takata's move to double the recall of potentially deadly air bags to nearly 34 million vehicles, making it the largest automotive recall in US history.

Takes years?

At issue are malfunctioning inflators in Takata airbags which cause them to explode, spraying metal fragments into the passenger compartment. Regulators have so far linked six deaths worldwide to the problem.

Experts and safety advocates say Takata's US recall of potentially deadly air bag inflators could take years to complete, as automakers scrambled to line up replacement parts, some not from Takata.

A Takata spokesman said the company would raise output to 1 million inflators a month by September, an increase of 100,000 parts from the previous forecast and up from the current monthly level of 500,000.

Takata reported a net loss of $244 million (221 million euros) for the last fiscal year, but said it expects to return to profit this financial year despite the recalls.

sri/hg (Reuters, AFP)

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