Toyota said it was recalling 1.7 million cars around the world, including some popular Corolla, Matrix and Camry models. Nissan recalled around 480,000 cars, while Mazda added another 45,000.
Honda, which is recalling more than 1.1 million autos, said the recall was necessary to replace passenger front airbag inflators.
“It is possible that the passenger front airbag inflators in affected vehicles may deploy with too much pressure, which may cause the inflator casing to rupture and could result in injury,” the company said in a statement.
Most of the recalled cars appeared to be from the 2001, 2002 and 2003 model years.
Honda said it was aware of one crash in which a passenger front airbag casing had ruptured after being deployed with too much pressure. The automaker said it was not aware of any injuries or deaths that may have resulted from the defect.
Toyota said it had reports of five airbag malfunctions, but no injuries.
Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada said the airbags in question were manufactured by Takata Corp., a Japan-based supplier.
Takata shares declined sharply after the recall was issued, at one point falling more than 15% before recovering to close down 9%.
The recall, while large, is not without precedent. The United States alone has had 13 recalls of more than three million units, according to a list maintained by the D.C.-based Center for Auto Safety.
For Toyota, the recall is another blow to its carefully cultivated reputation for quality.
The company announced in October a recall of 7.43 million cars due to a power window problem that posed a fire risk.
Toyota’s largest recall came in 2009 and 2010, when more than 8 million units were brought in for a potential problem involving sticky accelerator pedals. In that case, dealers were told to suspend sales of eight models, and production of those models stopped temporarily.