According to reports, the problem relates to the airbag inflator, which may burst and send pieces of plastic flying. The firms said the defective part was supplied by parts maker Takata Corp.
According to Toyota, there have been five incidents - in the U.S. and Japan - but no injuries.
Toyota is recalling 1.73 million cars, Honda 1.13 million cars, Nissan 480,000 cars and Mazda is recalling 45,000 cars.
The Toyota recall involves models such as the Corolla and the Yaris. The company said in a statement that customers will receive an owner notification letter by post and that the recall remedy "will involve inspection of the front passenger air bag, and, if it is equipped with an affected inflator, the inflator will be replaced with a newly manufactured one at no charge to the owner".
In November, Toyota recalled 2.7 million vehicles worldwide because of a steering wheel fault and a month earlier it was involved in the biggest single recall since 1996 when it revealed 7.43 million vehicles had been affected by malfunctioning power window switches.
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