KENYA could be slightly affected by the latest recall of vehicles with faulty airbags by international motor companies -Toyota, Nissan and Honda, importers have said.
The Car Importers Association of Kenya yesterday said the ongoing recall could affect units manufactured between 2003 and 2007.
According to CIAK, 2003 units were imported to Kenya until the year 2010 while 2007 units were imported until last year, as per the government's eight-year rule for used vehicles.
This comes as the three companies continue to expand their recalls over an airbag problem made by Japanese supplier Takata Corporation, where more than 6.5 million vehicles have been affected.
Last week, Toyota said it was recalling nearly five million more vehicles globally in addition to the 3.1 million recalled earlier for the airbag inflator problem.
The recent recall by Toyota affects 35 models globally, some which are common in Kenya. These include the Corolla subcompact, RAV4 sport utility vehicle and Tundra pickup, produced from March 2003 to November 2007.
Association chairman Peter Otieno said though the recall is usually for new advanced models most of which have not found their way to Kenya, some of the 2007 cars could have ended up in Kenya as used units.
"They mostly recall new models but if they are recalling vehicles of up to 2007 which have already been on the roads, Kenya could be affected," said Otieno on telephone adding that Kenya imports at least 8,000 units from Japan a month.
Kenya also imports from United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore and South Africa, bringing total monthly imports to an average 12,000 units.
In the latest recall, front passenger and front driver-side airbag inflators can abnormally deploy or rupture exposing a person to risk.
Most of these vehicles are in Europe, Japan and US but might have found their way to Kenya and the East Africa region, as Japan remains the largets source market for motor vehicles for the region, dominating the Kenyan market with a more than 80 per cent share.
When combined with the earlier recalls, Toyota's recalls have now ballooned to about 8.1 million vehicles.
Nissan has recalled four million units with the Sentra Compact, Caravan and X-Trail sport utility vehicle, made between 2004 and 2007 being among the affected.
Honda has been the most affected by the airbag problem having already recalled more than 14 million vehicles.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards which supervises pre-export inspection of used vehicles to Kenya, however said the country has so far not been affected.
Kebs managing director Charles Ongwae said though the standards body cannot rule out any chances of having units in the country recalled, imports to Kenya may not be affected.
"Kenya is not affected though we are consulting with Toyota and the other companies to find more about the recalling issue," said Ongwae.
Nissan Kenya confirmed yesterday that they have not been affected so far by the current recall.
Sales manager Patrick Mugalo said the company only had a few recalls in 2009 but were not related to airbag.
"What we have right now are vehicles manufactured in 2015. We have not had any case with airbag related issues. We are however ready to handle any case that comes out including re-shipping of the unit if need be," said Mugalo.
He said the Nairobi showroom deals with new cars but the company is ready to assist those who have imported second hand Nissan units in case they develop problems.
Toyota Kenya could not be reached for comment as the Star was told the managing director was out of the country.
The current recall is similar to the 2013 exercise which saw Toyota recall 370,000 units, over glitches that made cars stop mid-journey.
The recall affected common models in Kenya including Crown, Mark X, and various Lexus models built in Japan between July 2005 and July 2011, though no incidence was reported in the country.
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