Bloomberg News report
TOKYO (Oct. 15, 2014) — Toyota Motor Corp., which is under supervision in the U.S. by an independent safety monitor, recalled 1.75 million vehicles worldwide to fix flaws in the braking and fuel systems.
The Lexus IS, GS and LS luxury sedans and Toyota Auris compact hatchback are among the 10 models being called back.
Toyota said it is not aware of any fires, crashes, injuries or fatalities resulting from the defects.
The safety campaign is Toyota's fourth this year involving at least 1 million vehicles as the auto industry responds to scrutiny over tardy recalls. General Motors Co. has called back a record 30 million cars and trucks this year in North America, while Toyota has dealt with renewed attention to safety after recalling more than 10 million vehicles in 2009 and 2010 for defects related to unintended acceleration.
“With the lessons learned from past recalls in North America, Toyota keeps showing the attitude to proactively recall and have everything under control before any serious accident happens,” said Takashi Aoki, a Tokyo-based fund manager at Mizuho Asset Management Co. “I don't think this recall would damage the brand image, or cause the shares to decrease, as there were no injuries, fatalities or crashes.”
Toyota is calling back about 802,000 Crown, Crown Majesta, Noah and Voxy models made June 2007 to June 2012 to replace a rubber seal in the brake system that could crack and cause fluid to leak, leading to degraded performance.
The auto maker is also recalling the Crown and Crown Majesta, as well as the Mark X and iterations of the three Lexus models to repair fuel delivery pipes that could leak and increase fire risk.
A third flaw involves about 190,000 Rumion and Auris cars in Japan that Toyota dealers will fix by replacing emission-control units that could cause fuel leaks and lead to greater fire risk. Toyota first received a report of a problem that prompted the fuel delivery pipe recall in June 2010 in the U.S., said Tokyo-based spokesman Dion Corbett. The company received initial reports from Japan for the brake fix in July 2011 and the emission control units in January last year.
The latest recall is the first major global campaign by Toyota since David Kelley, a New York-based partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel L.L.P. and former U.S. Attorney, was appointed by the U.S. Justice Department in August to supervise the car maker's safety procedures. Kelley will review Toyota's policies and verify the accuracy of its public statements for three years as part of the auto maker's $1.2 billion settlement for the unintended- acceleration recalls.
Toyota has now recalled about 5.3 million vehicles in the U.S. market this year, according to its U.S. media website. A total count for vehicles recalled globally wasn't immediately available, Mr. Corbett said.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) last month said it would renew scrutiny of claims involving unintended acceleration. As many as 1.69 million Toyota Corollas with model years from 2006 to 2010 could be subject to investigation depending on the regulator's evaluation of an owner's claim of unintended “low-speed surging.”
Toyota in June expanded a 14-month-old recall of more than 2 million vehicles for faulty air bags after supplier Takata Corp. told customers further fixes may be needed. The carmaker added about 650,000 vehicles in Japan including Corolla cars to the safety campaign.
In April, Toyota recalled more than 6 million vehicles for five potential hazards involving almost 30 models. In February, Toyota called back 1.9 million Prius hybrids to update software and fix defects that could cause the cars to lose power or shut down and stop.
Toyota has sought to repair its reputation for quality after the recalls contributed to the company losing its title as the world's top-selling auto maker in 2011 to GM. The company regained leadership in each of the last two years and clung to its lead over Volkswagen A.G. through the first half of 2014.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.