One of the world biggest automakers, Toyota Motor Corp., announced Wednesday that it would recall 6.39 million vehicles worldwide for faults affecting various parts ranging from steering to seats.
The announcement affects around 2.36 million models in all of North America, 1.09 million in Japan and 810,000 in Europe, plus smaller numbers in other regions.
Some 3.5 million vehicles are being recalled to replace a spiral cable attached to the driver’s side airbag, which may be damaged when the steering wheel is turned and result in the airbag not being deployed in a crash.
Other glitches include problems with seat rails, steering columns, windscreen wipers and an issue with the engine starters that poses a fire risk. However, the company claims that it’s “not aware of any crashes, injuries or fatalities caused by these conditions,” nor was there any indication that American safety regulators had opened any investigations.
The carmaker said that “due to inefficiencies in the design of the starter motor relays, metallic particles might accumulate on the contacts within the relay”.
The recalls cover 27 Toyota models – 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Tacoma, 2006-2008 RAV4 and 2006-2010 Yaris models. Two of those models were made by joint manufacturing ventures and sold under other brands: the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia. Some of the vehicles were made as early as 2004.
The automaker did not comment on how much the recall would cost and it was not clear if the faults stemmed from Toyota’s suppliers or its manufacturing process. “We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and concern brought by this recall announcement,” Toyota added in a statement.
It is not the first recall that the company has faced. Back in February, it called back 1.9 million of its top-selling Prius hybrid cars because of a software fault that might cause the vehicle to slow down suddenly. Last year, Toyota recalled 5.3 million vehicles in the United States, the most of any automaker. In general, over the past two-and-a-half year more than 25 million vehicles were recalled.
Last month, Toyota agreed to pay a $1.2 billion fine to the federal government for misleading consumers and regulators about unintended acceleration in its cars and trucks. The problem, which was traced to problematic floor mats and sticky gas pedals, prompted the company to recall more than 9 million vehicles.
Shares in Toyota fell as much as 4.9% Wednesday before closing 3% down in Tokyo. The stock has tumbled more than 15% so far this year.
Toyota’s action comes just weeks after General Motors was rocked by a major recall of nearly 7 million vehicles equipped with faulty ignition switches. The defect, which GM dealers began fixing this week, has been linked by the company to 13 deaths.
Company officials acknowledge that GM first learned about the problem at least a decade ago but did not issue a recall — a decision that new chief executive Mary T. Barra has said she is trying to understand through an internal investigation, reports the Washington Post.