SA part of global recall of vehicles

2014-04-10 00:00

TOYOTA South Africa is participating in two of its global parent’s motor-recall programmes, even though “we have not picked up any issues yet” with the vehicle models concerned, Toyota South Africa spokesperson Leo Kok said yesterday.

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corporation, in its second-largest recall announcement, said yesterday it will call back 6,39 million vehicles globally, after uncovering five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats.

Kok said that locally owned Yaris models bought before and during 2010 will be affected by the recall, as will all models built on the Hilux chassis in the same period.

In the case of the Yaris, seating rail springs will be inspected and if worn, they will be replaced, while in the other campaign, a spiral cable in the steering box leading to the air bag may be replaced.

Toyota SA does not yet have all the numbers of the vehicles affected, but concerned customers can leave their details at Toyota dealers, who will later notify customers if their vehicles are affected, said Kok.

Vehicle warranties and service plans will not be affected, and no customer will be charged if these “simple and quick remedies” are made to their vehicles, he said.

The world’s biggest automaker said it is not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which have been found in 27 Toyota models, including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact.

Toyota said faults have also been found in the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, two models the automaker built for General Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries.

The automaker did not say how much the recalls will cost, and it is not clear if the faults stem from Toyota’s suppliers or its manufacturing process.

The move by Toyota to announce five different recalls on a single day from Tokyo comes as major automakers face increasing scrutiny in the United States on how quickly they take preventive safety action and how quickly they share this information with regulators and the public.

Toyota agreed last month to pay $1,2 billion (R12 539 040 000) to the U.S. government for withholding information related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles. That safety crisis caused Toyota to recall more than nine million vehicles.

In a high-profile case that has the potential to change U.S. safety regulation, Toyota rival General Motors is under investigation for failing to act on a known ignition-switch defect linked to a dozen deaths. The company has recalled 1,6 million vehicles over the issue.

In the largest of the recalls announced yesterday, Toyota said some 3,5 million vehicles are being recalled to replace a spiral cable that could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. This could cause the air bag to fail in the event of a crash, the automaker said.

In total, about 2,34 million of the vehicles to be recalled were sold in North America. Another 810 000 were sold in Europe.

In the second-largest of the Toyota recalls, some 2,32 million three-door models, made between Jan­uary 2005 and August 2010, are being recalled to check for a fault in the seat rails that could cause the seat to slide forward in a crash, risking injury for the driver or passengers.

The other recalls are for faulty steering-column brackets, windshield-wiper motors and engine starters.

The recall announcement, which came during late-afternoon Tokyo trading, knocked an additional two percent off Toyota’s already sagging shares.

They quickly pared the extra losses, however, and ended down three percent at 5 450 yen, reflecting an overall weak tone in the market where the benchmark Nikkei average fell 2,1%.

Toyota’s 6,39 million vehicle recall is the largest announced on a single day for the company since October 2012, when it called back 7,43 million Yaris, Corolla and other models to fix faulty power-window switches.

In the first two months of 2014, major automakers had announced 18 separate recalls in the United States, now the second-largest auto market behind China.

The recent wave of large-scale recalls represents a source of revenue for auto dealers, who are paid by the manufacturers to service defective cars.

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