Toyota to recall 7.4 million vehicles globally on power window glitch

Toyota to recall 7.4 million vehicles globally on power window glitch
Recalls include 2.47 million vehicles in the U.S.; No accidents, injuries reported
From wire reports
Automotive News | October 10, 2012 – 6:18 am EST

TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. announced the biggest single automotive recall since 1996 to fix malfunctioning power window switches, saying it will pull back 7.43 million vehicles worldwide, including 2.47 million in the United States.

About 1.4 million vehicles in China and 1.39 million in Europe are also affected, said Joichi Tachikawa, a Tokyo-based spokesman. The Corolla and Camry are among the 14 models subject to inspection and repair, he said. The company hasn’t received any reports of injuries or accidents because of the issue, he said.

The scale of the recall, equivalent to 93 percent of its vehicles sold last year, comes as President Akio Toyoda pushes to rebuild the company’s reputation for quality. Toyota, which recalled more than 10 million units in 2009 and 2010 for defects associated with unintended acceleration, took two years for its premium Lexus brand to regain the top spot on J.D. Power & Associates’ new-car quality survey in 2011.

Toyota didn’t provide estimates on the cost of the recall. The power window switches can be repaired in about an hour depending on the dealer’s work schedule, the company said in a statement.

“The process to repair (the power window switch) is not an extensive one,” spokeswoman Monika Saito said.

There is a possibility that the malfunctioning switches could emit smoke, she said. The company said it’s conducting the recall to inspect the vehicles and apply special fluorine grease to the switch.

The first time the problem was reported was in September 2008 in the United States, Saito said.

Other countries

The firm is also recalling 650,000 vehicles in Australia and Asia, 490,000 vehicles in the Near and Middle East, 240,000 vehicles in Canada and 330,000 vehicles elsewhere, said Shino Yamada, another spokeswoman for Toyota.

The U.S. action covers various 2007 through 2009 models of the Yaris, RAV4, Tundra, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Scion xD, Scion xA, Sequoia, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Corolla and Matrix.

“The volume is big, and doesn’t look good,” Satoru Takada, an auto analyst at Toward the Infinite World Inc., a securities research company, said by telephone in Tokyo today. “Even if you calculate the cost in a very simple way, it’s going to be significant. What comes with standardizing platforms and parts is that these recalls become immense.”

The move comes a day after Toyota reported that its sales fell 48.9 percent year-on-year in China in September. Japanese car brands have suffered as a result of an outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in China in response to a territorial dispute between the two countries.

In 1996, Ford Motor Co. pulled back 8 million vehicles to replace defective ignition switches that could have caused engine fires.

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