Mazda to recall 52,000 cars in Japan over Takata air bags

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) displays shrapnel holes of a Honda steering wheel airbag, made by Takata, before chairing a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on "Examining Takata Airbag Defects and the Vehicle Recall Process."
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) displays shrapnel holes of a Honda steering wheel airbag, made by Takata, before chairing a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on "Examining Takata Airbag Defects and the Vehicle Recall Process." in Washington on Nov 20, 2014. Mazda Motor Corp said on Friday it would recall 52,000 cars in Japan to investigate potential defects in Takata Corp air bags. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Mazda Motor Corp said on Friday it would recall 52,000 cars in Japan to investigate potential defects in Takata Corp air bags.

The automaker said its latest "investigative" recall would cover Atenza mid-sized cars and RX-8 sports cars manufactured between 2004 and 2008 that are equipped with Takata driver's side air bags.

The move had been expected after Mazda expanded a recall in the United States and said a similar action was likely in Japan.

Japan's transport ministry, the country's auto regulator, said on Friday it was checking with automakers on whether they had enough replacement inflators to keep up with a recent series of recalls.

Nearly 20 million cars have been recalled by automakers worldwide over Takata's air bags, which can inflate too forcefully and spray metal fragments into the car. There have been five deaths so far linked to Takata's air bags, all on Honda Motor Co cars.