April 9, 2014 by Yuri Kageyama, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 6.39 million vehicles globally, including more than half a million in Canada, for a variety of problems spanning nearly 30 models in Japan, North America, Europe and other places.
Some vehicles were recalled for more than one problem. The recall cases total 6.76 million vehicles for 27 Toyota models, the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, produced from April 2004 through August 2013.
Toyota Canada issued two separate recall notices affecting a total of 513,401 vehicles on Wednesday as part of the global initiative. One of the recalls affects 360,963 cars and SUVs with a spiral cable assembly that can be damaged when the steering wheel is turned and then, potentially, prevent the driver’s airbag from deploying in a crash.
The spiral cable assembly is in a large range of models, including the Corolla, RAV4, Matrix, Yaris, Highlander, and Tacoma, that were from various model years.
No injuries or crashes have been reported related to the recalls announced Wednesday. But two reports of fires are linked to one of the problems, a defective engine starter that can keep the motor running. The engine starter wasn’t named in either of Toyota Canada’s recalls.
The Pontiac Vibe, which is a General Motors Co. model, is also involved because Toyota and GM made cars at the same plant in California and the recalled model is the same as the Toyota Matrix. It was recalled for a problem with a spiral cable attached to an air-bag. It is unrelated to a separate GM recall over ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths.
Subaru is partly owned by Toyota, and the model was the same as the Toyota Ractis.
Toyota’s global recall also reported problems with seat rails, the bracket holding the steering column in place, and the windshield-wiper motor.
In Canada, the company is recalling 152,438 vehicles for seat rails that may not click into position after an adjustment _ increasing the risk of injury in a crash. Toyota Canada said that recall affects certain models of the Yaris hatchback, Yaris sedan and the 2010 model of the Scion xD.
By region, the latest recall affects 2.3 million vehicles in North America, 1.09 million vehicles in Japan and 810,000 vehicles in Europe. Other regions affected by the recall include Africa, South America and the Middle East.
Toyota was embroiled in a massive recall crisis in the U.S. starting in late 2009 and continuing through 2010, covering a wide range of problems including faulty floor mats, sticky gas pedals and defective brakes. In response, it has become quicker to recall cars and
Last month, the Japanese automaker reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department to pay a $1.2 billion penalty for hiding information about defects in its cars. It earlier paid fines of more than $66 million for delays in reporting unintended acceleration problems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration never found defects in electronics or software in Toyota cars, which had been targeted as a possible cause.
The focus in the U.S. auto industry has recently shifted to another major recall problem, this time with defective ignitions in compact cars made by GM.
– With files from The Canadian Press