Toyota Motor Corp. has recalled 7.43 million vehicles in the U.S., Japan, Europe and elsewhere around the world for a faulty power-window switch. This is the latest of a series of massive quality woes for Japan’s top automaker. The recall affects more than a dozen models produced by Toyota from 2005 through 2010. The power-window switch on the driver’s side didn’t have grease applied evenly during production, causing friction in the switch and sometimes smoke, according to Toyota.
The carmaker says no crashes or injuries have been reported related to the defect. But more than 200 problems were reported in the United States. A fewer number of problems were reported elsewhere, including 39 cases in Japan. Some 460,000 vehicles are being recalled in Japan. The models there are the Vitz, Belta, Ractis, Ist, Auris and Corolla Lumion. The Yaris, Corolla, Auris, Camry and Rav-4 are being recalled in Europe, totaling 1.39 million vehicles. In the U.S., the 2.47 million vehicles involved in the latest recall include:
• 2007 – 2009 Camry sedans, approx. 938,100 vehicles;
• 2007 – 2009 Camry Hybrids, approx. 116,800 vehicles;
• 2007 – 2009 RAV4 crossovers, approx. 336,400 vehicles;
• 2007 – 2009 Tundra pickups, approx. 337,100 vehicles;
• 2007 – 2008 Yaris subcompacts, approx. 110,300 vehicles;
• 2008 Highlander SUVs, approx. 135,400 vehicles;
• 2008 Highlander Hybrids, approx. 23,200 vehicles;
• 2008 – 2009 Scion xD models, approx. 34,400 vehicles;
• 2008 – 2009 Scion xA models, approx. 77,500 vehicles;
• 2008- 2009 Sequoia SUVs, approx. 38,500 vehicles;
• 2009 Corolla compacts, approx. 270,900 vehicles; and
• 2009 Matrix crossovers; approx. 53,800 vehicles.
The massive recall also applies to cars in Australia, China and elsewhere in Asia and the Middle East. Toyota has been trying to fix its reputation after a series of massive recalls of 14 million vehicles over several years. Interestingly, Toyota has boasted a reputation for pristine quality, centered around its super-lean production methods that empowered workers to zero in on quality control. Toyota executives have acknowledged the escalating recalls were partly caused by the company’s overly ambitious growth goals.
To check whether your car is involved, go to Toyota’s recall web page. The maker estimates the inspection and repair process will take little more than an hour and involves the disassembly of the master switch and, if necessary, the application of a special fluorine grease. NHTSA has received more than 200 reports of problems involving the defective switch including fires, though there are no known crashes or injuries. At least 39 similar problems were reported in Japan.
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