Following Toyota Motor Corp’s massive global recall to replace Takata airbag inflators involving millions of cars worldwide, including some of its best-selling models, local distributor UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) has announced a “special service campaign” a.k.a. product recall for Malaysia.

This is a big one, and it involves the replacement of the inflator module in the airbag system on the front passenger side in various models. They are the Vios, Corolla Altis, Yaris and Alphard manufactured between October 2007 and December 2011. UMWT says that around 80,000 units are involved, and the figure only includes cars distributed by the official channel.


This latest recall is an expansion of earlier campaigns to fix the same Takata airbag issue that has dogged almost all the major Japanese brands. It is the auto industry’s biggest ever recall.

The defect is due to propellant degradation occurring after prolonged exposure to high humidity and temperatures. The inflators contain a non-desiccated, phase stabilised ammonium nitrate propellant that may cause the rupture of the module. If it does, metal fragments will pass through the airbag as it inflates and shoot into the cabin, leading to serious injury or death.

UMWT says that its princpal TMC is currently working on obtaining the necessary parts for the recall. Once the parts are available, UMWT will notify owners, requesting them to bring their cars to an authorised Toyota service centre for a job that will take from one to three hours. All costs will be borne by UMWT.

The company says that it is aware that some customers who are not the first registered owners of the affected cars may not be contactable, and they should contact Toyota service centres or get in touch by Toyota Freephone at 1800-8-TOYOTA (869682). Toyota is also currently updating its VIN database and owners can check their car’s VIN number at this dedicated page.

The inclusion of the Alphard raises questions about the fate of the many grey imports running in Malaysia. We reached out to UMWT and a spokesman said that yes, grey imported Alphards/Vellfires manufactured in the same period (October 2007 and December 2011) will be covered, although it’s only normal for the company to take care of its own customers first. Still, that’s good news for owners of the grey big MPVs. The online VIN checker is only for UMWT cars, so you’ll have to call Toyota Freephone.