Toyota recalls 2.9 million vehicles

EVEN the maker of some of the world’s most reliable cars is not immune from recalls.

Last week, Toyota announced it is conducting a global recall of some 2.87 million vehicles after rear seat belts separated in one fatal accident in Canada and during a crash that injured a passenger in the United States.

It appears that seatbelt webbing could come in contact with a portion of the metal seat cushion frame, get cut and separate in the event of a crash.

The world’s biggest-selling automaker said that the global recall involved its RAV4 SUV model, which was produced between July 2005 and August 2014 and was sold worldwide, and its Vanguard SUV model was produced between October 2005 and January 2016 and was sold in Japan.

The recall included the 1.3 million vehicles in North America, along with around 625,000 vehicles in Europe, 434,000 vehicles in China, 177,000 in Japan and 307,000 in other regions. As of this writing, it was not known how many vehicles in the Philippines would be affected.

The carmaker said it would add resin covers to the metal seat cushion frames on all affected vehicles to prevent any metal pieces from cutting the seatbelt in the event of a crash.

This latest announcement follows a massive recall late last year of some 6.5 million Toyota vehicles worldwide to fix power-window switches that can overheat and potentially lead to a fire.

About 2.7 million of the recalled vehicles were in North America, with 1.2 million in Europe and 600,000 in Japan. The recalled models produced outside of Japan include the Camry sedan and RAV4 and Highlander sport utility vehicles.

Toyota received one report of a hand burn incident from a U.S. customer, and said it’s aware of the 11 incidents where switches and door trims burned. The internal circuit board will be replaced if the switch is not operating normally, the company said.

Toyota is also among those affected by defective airbags made by Japanese manufacturer Takata, which have resulted in more than 20 million recalls.
On Saturday, Swedish carmaker Volvo also announced it is recalling 59,000 cars across 40 markets over a software fault that can temporarily shut down the engine. The fault is restricted to five-cylinder diesels from the 60 and 70 series constructed from the middle of 2015.

Industry-wide, recalls are becoming more of an issue as automakers step up their game to avoid major scandals, as similar components are used by carmakers. Last year saw a record number of vehicles recalled at over 74 million and the figure has been growing over the years.

On a more positive note, Toyota was crowned as the world’s best-selling carmaker for the fourth consecutive year after the Japanese group sold 10.15 million cars in 2015, edging past sector peers Volkswagen and General Motors.

The number of vehicles sold was marginally ahead of expectations but a slight decline from the 10.23 million units sold in 2014, although it was comfortably ahead of the 9.93 million sold by Volkswagen and 9.80 million by US-based General Motors, which Toyota first dethroned as the world’s best-selling carmaker in 2008.
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