In both cases, Toyota wants to recalibrate the occupant classification system of the passenger seat. This system works with the front passenger airbag, and deactivates the latter if it discovers that the passenger seat is not filled by a human.
Toyota says they believe that there is a possibility that some of those 58,000 cars have received an improper calibration at the time of manufacture.
In some conditions, the improper calibration might lead to the front passenger airbag and the subsequent knee airbag not to deploy as designed. The scenario described by Toyota might even involve the possibility of the passenger-side airbags not to deploy at all.
Toyota did not mention any accidents or injuries related to this situation in their press release. It’s possible that some incidents took place, though, and the automaker has discovered the issue because of these. In any case, if there were a death caused by a faulty Occupant Classification System, the information would eventually leak into the media and reach public attention.
All known purchasers of the affected vehicles will be informed by the Japanese automaker through first class mail. Once they are programmed for service, the Toyota dealers will properly recalibrate the Occupant Classification System of those vehicles.
As in the case of other carmakers, this is a precautionary safety recall, which Toyota has started in order to prevent any potential injuries caused by mishaps in the assembly process. These recalls are usually started after internal analysis, and carmakers do these without hesitation in most cases, especially after some brands, Toyota included, have done recalls by the millions in recent years.
We must note that there is a chance that the carmaker discovered the issue after an incident with a customer’s vehicle, but there is no official word on this situation at the moment.