Toyota recalls millions of vehicles worldwide

Japanese car manufacturer says it needs to fix malfunctioning power window switches on 7.4 million vehicles.

The driver of a Toyota Yaris car is reflected in a mirror as he drives along a main road in central Beijing
Toyota declined to disclose how much the recall would cost, or how much it might affect its earnings [Reuters]

Toyota, the Japanese carmaker, has announced a massive recall to fix malfunctioning power window switches on models including the Yaris, Corolla sand Camry, saying it will pull back 7.4 million vehicles worldwide.

The company said the power window switches can be repaired in about 40 minutes.

The move on Wednesday comes as the country’s biggest car manufacturer tries to rebuild trust after a series of recalls between 2009 and 2011 in which it pulled back about 10 million vehicles.

The company is also struggling with plummeting Chinese sales as a result of a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute.

The recall primarily affects cars in the US, China and Europe.

Toyota’s main rivals in the US include Ford and General Motors, while in China they compete with Volkswagen, Hyundai and Nissan, and in Europe Hyundai and Nissan.

“The process to repair [the power window switch] is not an extensive one,” spokeswoman Monika Saito said, adding that it would involve putting heat-resistant lubricant on the switches, or exchanging them.

Toyota declined to disclose how much the recall would cost, or how much it might affect its earnings.

Global recall

The recall will include 2.47 million vehicles in the US, as well as 1.4 million vehicles in China and 1.39 million vehicles in Europe.

In Japan, Toyota is recalling about 459,300 vehicles, including the Vitz, produced between 2006 and 2008.

The firm is also recalling 650,000 vehicles in Australia and Asia, 490,000 vehicles in the Near and Middle East, 240,000 vehicles in Canada and 330,000 vehicles elsewhere, said Shino Yamada, another spokeswoman for Toyota.

The vehicles recalled outside Japan include certain models of the Yaris, Vios, Corolla, Matrix, Auris, Camry, RAV4,
Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia, xB and xD produced between 2005 and 2010.

The first time the problem was reported was in September 2008 in the US, Saito said.

No accidents, injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the problem, though there is a possibility that the malfunctioning switches could emit smoke, she said.

The move comes a day after Toyota reported that its sales fell 48.9 per cent year-on-year in China in September.

Japanese car brands have suffered as a result of an outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in China in response to a territorial dispute between the two countries.

In 1996, Ford pulled back eight million vehicles to replace defective ignition switches that could have caused engine fires.

Source: News Agencies