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Toyota Recalls Over 6 Million Vehicles

April 10, 2014

After General Motors, Toyota is the second automaker to issue a massive recall this year. The Japanese auto giant’s recall is much bigger in scale, with Bloomberg calling it “one of the biggest recall announcements in automotive history.”

Toyota is recalling 6.4 million vehicles worldwide for a number of safety hazards and defective parts. Of all the affected vehicles, 2.3 million are in North America and 810,000 are in Europe. The announcement covers five unrelated recalls, which affect some of the brand’s most well-known and best selling nameplates.

The world’s biggest auto manufacturer said that it is unaware of crashes, injuries or fatalities related to the glitches.

The largest of the five recalls is due to faulty spiral cables in airbags, and involves 3.5 million units around the world. The affected vehicles are the following: 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla and Toyota Matrix cars; 2008-2010 Toyota Highlander mid-size SUVs; 2009-2010 Toyota Tacoma pickups; 2006-2008 Toyota RAV4 crossover SUVs; and 2006-2010 Toyota Yaris subcompact cars.

The problem with the aforementioned vehicles is that the spiral cable assembly that activates the airbags could be compromised with the turning of the steering wheel. As a result, the airbag warning light will be switched on and the airbag may be deactivated.

Though this is Toyota’s recall, General Motors is also affected. GM will be repairing 40,500 Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks from model years 2009 to 2010 as part of the recall. The Japanese carmaker designed and engineered the Vibe for GM’s Pontiac. The affected Pontiac Vibes are also equipped with the defective spiral cables. GM will repair the vehicles once Toyota provides the necessary parts.

The second largest of the fixes will address seat rail locking issues and involves 2.3 million vehicles globally. The affected nameplates are the following: 2006-2010 Toyota Yaris hatchbacks; 2007-2010 Toyota Yaris sedans and 2008-2010 Scion xD subcompact hatchbacks.

In the affected units, the seat rails may not lock in the adjusted position properly due to worn or broken springs. This means that the seat may move forward at any time. Hence, in the event of a crash, the driver or passenger has higher risk of injury. This will be a bigger concern for vehicles wherein the seats are often adjusted.

The third recall is due to defective steering column brackets, and affects 760,000 vehicles around the world. When the steering wheel is frequently turned with full force, the steering column brackets may become unstable. In certain cases, the bracket may fail to keep the steering column in place.

According to Automotive News, North America is not affected because the affected vehicles are the imported variety. These include some Toyota Ist, Ractis and Yaris models.

The last two recalls only affect Toyota models sold in Japan and Hong Kong. 160,000 Ractis units have windshield wipers with drainage issues and 20,000 vehicles have possible fire hazard in their starter motors.

This is Toyota’s second big recall since late 2012, when the company repaired 7.4 million fire-prone window switches. The latest recall once again tarnishes the carmaker’s reputation, which President Akio Toyoda has been trying to restore after the 2009-2010 unintended acceleration recall crisis.

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