Mazda is latest automaker to expand recall of killer Takata air bags

Angelina Sujata, with a scar on her chest where she was injured three years ago by a defective Takata airbag, joins members of Congress for a news conference outside the US Capitol on Tuesday (June 2) in Washington, DC. Sujata was driving a 2001 Hond
Angelina Sujata, with a scar on her chest where she was injured three years ago by a defective Takata airbag, joins members of Congress for a news conference outside the US Capitol on Tuesday (June 2) in Washington, DC. Sujata was driving a 2001 Honda Civic when she was involved in a 25-mile per hour crash. One piece of shrapnel from inside the airbag flew out her windshield while the other ripped into her chest. -- PHOTO: AFP 

DETROIT (REUTERS) - Mazda Motor Corp has expanded to 444,907 a recall of US cars equipped with potentially defective Takata air bags, the automaker said in a notice posted on Thursday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Mazda is the latest automaker to announce an expansion of an earlier air bag recall since Takata Corp told the NHTSA in mid-May that nearly 34 million air bag inflators in the United States had the potential to rupture, spraying metal fragments inside vehicles. At least six deaths and hundreds of injuries are linked to ruptured inflators.

Since Takata's May 18 disclosure, eight of 10 automakers that use Takata air bags have either expanded earlier recalls or initiated a new recall, and one other has said potentially defective parts are covered by previous recalls.

Mazda recalled 328,243 sedans a year ago because the inflators in the Takata air bags could rupture. The latest expansion, which adds 116,664 vehicles, covers the Mazda6 and RX-8.

Earlier on Thursday, Mazda in Japan announced an expanded recall of 75,000 cars, about double the previous number.