Today it was revealed that 3.4 million Japanese cars are to be recalled over a potentially defective passenger airbag.

And although four manufacturers are affected, it is once again Toyota in the centre of the media's crosshairs. Yes, more Toyotas are affected (1.73m) than Hondas (1.13m), Nissans (480,000) and Mazdas (45,000), but that's hardly surprising given Toyota is the world's biggest car maker.

This recall represents just 2.5 per cent of Toyota's entire production over the last ten years.

Besides the scale of the recall, Toyota has – unfairly – become synonymous with recalls over the last few years. The Prius braking recall was due to the way the car's stoppers switch from electric to hydraulic pressure, sometimes exhibiting a slight delay in certain situations, such as driving on ice. Toyota recalled the cars, recalibrated the braking, and the perceived problem went away.

At the same time, a number of American buyers reported their mats sliding over the brake pedals. Toyota uses different mats in different markets, and the problem was likely exacerbated by the use of rubber mats on top of the OEM units. And that's entirely out of Toyota's control.

Nevertheless, whenever a car is brought to Toyota for servicing with mats that could cause problems, they are removed, placed in the boot and the owner is informed of the risk.