Toyota recalls 7m cars worldwide over window fault

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Toyota recalls 7m cars worldwide over window fault

Postby azi malik on Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:02 am

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In the biggest car recall since 1996, Toyota is calling back 7.4m vehicles worldwide after discovering faulty window switches in 12 models. In the UK, 138,000 cars are affected.

The Japanese carmaker stressed that there have not been any accidents or injuries – the problem is the electric window switch which could feel uneven or notchy and could over time stick. There has been one reported case in the UK. Toyota said various simulation tests had shown there was no risk of fire.

It is the biggest car recall since Ford was forced to call back 8m vehicles in 1996 to replace defective igntion switches that could cause engine fires.

"Recalls in the automotive sector are not rare events, but the size and scale of this particular recall is unusual," said Richard Matthews, head of product liability at international law firm Eversheds. "Toyota faced heavy public scrutiny for the way it handled recalls in 2009-10, culminating in a record fine of $16.4m (£10.2bn) from the US transportation department. Toyota's approach this time around is perhaps indicative of an increasingly 'belt and braces' approach to managing risk."

Toyota already recalled more than 10m vehicles between 2009 and 2011 over various problems, and the latest recall will further damage its reputation. It is now calling back 1.39m vehicles in Europe, 2.47m in the US and 1.4m in China, as well as 459,000 in Japan, 650,000 in Australia and Asia and 490,000 vehicles in the Near and Middle East.

The range of Toyota cars affected worldwide include some models of the Yaris, Vios, Corolla, Matrix, Auris, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia, xB and xD made between 2005 and 2010.

In Britain, only three models are affected – the RAV4, Yaris and Auris. Toyota said the window switches take about an hour to fix. All affected owners will be contacted by Toyota GB within the next six weeks and asked to bring their car to the nearest Toyota centre. The dealer will check the window switch and will apply a special lubricant if it is operating properly, or replace it if not.

The move comes a day after Toyota reported a near-50% slump in sales in China in September, where Japanese car brands have suffered because of anti-Japanese sentiment in the wake of a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute.

Despite this, Matthews noted that Toyota's brand had proved remarkably resilient: in August it announced a quarterly profit of ¥290bn (£2.3bn), the highest in four years, and the business still claims the top spot for global sales, with 4.87m units sold in the first half of 2012.

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