Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Mazda are recalling about 3.3 million vehicles worldwide because the passenger-side air bag could deploy with too much force, sending shards of metal into the passenger area, the automakers said Thursday.
Worldwide, the recalls announced in Tokyo include about 1.7 million Toyotas, 1.1 million Hondas, 480,000 Nissans and 20,000 Mazdas. Almost 1.4 million of the vehicles are in the United States.
Among the automakers, Honda has had the most serious, continuing problem with air bags.
Before Thursday's action, Honda had already recalled nearly 2 million vehicles since 2008 for an excessively powerful driver's air bag.
In a news release Thursday, Honda said it was not aware of any injuries related to the current defect, which involves the inflaters on passenger-side air bags. But late in 2011, Honda acknowledged 18 injuries and two deaths linked to 2 million vehicles recalled because of the problem with the driver's air bag.
Chris Martin, a Honda spokesman, wrote in an email that the passenger-side air bag deploys differently. Instead of sending metal fragments directly at the driver, the passenger's air bag "could propel metal fragments upward toward the windshield or downward toward the front passenger's foot well."
The bags were produced by the Japanese supplier Takata Corp., which also sold some of the defective products to General Motors and BMW, according to a report Takata filed Thursday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in Washington.
An estimated 48,000 2003 Pontiac Vibesill be recalled, GM spokesman, Alan Adler, wrote in an email. The Vibe is a mechanical sibling of the Toyota Matrix.
A Toyota spokeswoman, Cindy Knight, said in an interview that only 170,000 of the company's vehicles would need a repair, but it has to inspect 510,000 vehicles to find them.
The models are the 2001-03 Toyota Corolla, Corolla Matrix, Sequoia and Tundra, and Lexus SC 430.
The Hondas being recalled are 43,000 2002-03 CR-V models; 426,000 2001-03 Civics; and 92,000 2002 Odyssey minivans. The Mazdas are the 2003-04 Mazda 6 and 2004 RX-8.
The Nissans being recalled are the 2001-03 Nissan Maxima, Infiniti FX, Infiniti QX4, Nissan Pathfinder and Nissan Sentra, a Nissan spokesman, Steve Yaeger, wrote in an email.