Posted by News Express | 9 April 2014 | 3,251 times
Global auto leader Toyota is to recall nearly 7 million cars following faults identified in 27 models. This is even as another car giant, General Motors, has been fined by US authorities for failing to respond to requests for information about faulty ignition switches linked to 13 deaths.
In the case of Toyota, the company said the glitches were found in various parts ranging from faulty steering wheels, airbags to seats. Toyota said it is not aware of any vehicle crashes, injuries or fatalities caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 models including the RAV4, Hilux, Yaris and Urban Cruiser.
However, it confirmed it received two reports of fires in connection with the engine starter problem.
In some Toyota Yaris and Urban Cruiser models a spring mechanism locking the driver and, in three-door cars, the front passenger seats in position on the adjustment rails may be under-strength and could break if seats are frequently moved back and forwards.
If the spring breaks, seats may not lock in position and could move in a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the occupant.
In addition, the automaker said some 3.5 million vehicles will be recalled to replace a spiral cable attached to the driver’s side airbag that could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned, causing the air bag to fail to activate in the event of a crash.
Toyota said in a statement: “We sincerely apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and concern brought by this recall announcement.”
The company neither said how much the recall would cost nor did it specify if the faults stemmed from suppliers or its own manufacturing process.
The latest recall, the largest announced on a single day, comes after the Japanese company agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle a criminal probe into safety issues in the US last month.
In the case of GM, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had given the company until 3 April to reply to its requests, but it says a third of its 107 questions have not been answered.
GM, which says it will provide more documents “as soon as they become available,” has been fined $7,000 a day until it complies with the request.
On March 4, the regulator asked GM for pictures, memos, emails and other information to answer questions about the recall. The reply was due by Thursday of last week.
GM said it has delivered almost 21,000 documents related to the safety recall.
“We will continue to provide responses and facts as soon as they become available and hope to go about this in a constructive manner,” GM said in statement.
“We will do so with a goal of being accurate as well as timely,” it said.
Last week GM’s chief executive Mary Barra apologised for an ignition switch fault in some cars linked to at least a dozen deaths in road crashes.
At a US congressional hearing, she also said she was “disturbed” by the company’s previous comments about the high cost of replacing the defective parts.
General Motors has so far recalled 2.6m cars because of the defect.
But it has been criticised for taking too long to do so.
Faults with ignition switches in some GM models, including the Chevrolet Cobalt and Saturn Ion, were first reported more than 10 years ago.
•Photo shows Toyota Motors President & CEO Akio Toyoda.
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