Toyota recall affects 7.4M cars. Power window could be fire hazard (+video)
Toyota recall includes 7.4 million cars worldwide for a faulty power window switch that could be a potential fire hazard. The Toyota recall is the single biggest auto recall since 1996.
Toyota¬†Motor Corp said it would¬†recall¬†more than 7.4 million¬†vehicles¬†worldwide as a faulty¬†power window switch¬†was a potential fire hazard, the latest in a series of setbacks that have dented the reputation of¬†Japan's biggest automaker.
The voluntary move is the biggest single¬†recall¬†since Ford pulled 8 million¬†vehicles¬†off the road in 1996 to replace defective¬†ignition switches¬†that could have caused engine fires.
Toyota¬†has battled its way back from multiple difficulties since 2008, including a series of recalls involving more than 10 million of its¬†vehicles¬†in 2009-11, and crippled supply chains from last year's earthquake and tsunami in¬†Japan¬†and floods in¬†Thailand. It posted its biggest quarterly operating profit in four years in April-June.
The firm regained its crown as the world's best-selling automaker in the first half year and expects to sell 9.76 million cars and light trucks globally this year, including the Daihatsu and Hino brands.
More recently, though,¬†Toyota¬†- and other Japanese brands - have seen sales plummet in¬†China, the world's biggest autos market, as a result of protests in a simmering Sino-Japanese territorial dispute.¬†Toyota¬†said on Tuesday that its¬†China¬†sales fell 48.9 percent year-on-year in September. Sales in¬†China¬†account for about 12 percent of its total.
"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 grease on the switches, or exchanging them.
Toyota¬†declined to say how much the¬†recall¬†would cost, or what impact it may have on future earnings.
"Of course, 7 million¬†vehicles¬†is a huge number, but it's probably not going to be like last time when customers in the¬†United States¬†avoided buying¬†Toyota¬†cars. This sounds like a completely different scale from then," he said.
The¬†recall¬†will include 2.47 million¬†vehicles¬†in the United States, 1.4 million in¬†China¬†and 1.39 million in¬†Europe, the company said.
No accidents, injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the problem, though there is a possibility the malfunctioning switches could emit smoke, Saito said.¬†Toyota's U.S. news release said the problem could lead to fire if commercially available lubricants were used on the switch.
Toyota¬†will¬†take in for repair about 459,300¬†vehicles¬†in¬†Japan, including the¬†Vitz¬†model, produced between 2006 and 2008.
The firm is also recalling 650,000¬†vehicles¬†in¬†Australia¬†and¬†Asia, 490,000 in the Near and¬†Middle East, 240,000 in¬†Canada¬†and 330,000 elsewhere, said¬†Shino Yamada, another spokeswoman for¬†Toyota.
The first time the problem was reported was in September 2008 in the¬†United States, Saito said.
Shares in¬†Toyota¬†ended down 1.9 percent, in line with the broader Nikkei index.