Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, has recalled nearly 1.3 million cars because of defects related to airbags and window wipers, as Anna Mukai reports for Bloomberg.
Ryo Sakai, a spokesman for the Japan-based automaker, told Bloomberg that Toyota recalled 910,000 Corolla and Corolla Matrix vehicles around the world because of concerns that a malfunctioning chip could deploy the front-seat airbags or activate the automatic seat-belt restraints inadvertently. In addition, Mukai writes, Toyota is recalling around 385,000 Lexus IS cars, whose windshield wipers might not be adequately tightened.
In an article appearing in The Washington Post, Yuri Kageyama of Associated Press (AP) writes: “The move comes just days after Toyota regained its spot as the world’s No. 1 automaker from U.S. rival General Motors Co., with global vehicle sales that climbed to a record 9.748 million vehicles.”
AP reports that at first, Toyota said there were no auto accidents related to the air bag and windshield wiper problems, but that company spokesman Naoto Fuse said on Wednesday that two crashes were reported in the U.S. related to the air bag problem. Fuse said it is unclear whether anyone was injured in those crashes, as Toyota had not been able to confirm them, AP writes.
However, Fuse said that Toyota has confirmed 18 cases in the U.S. of abrasion-type injuries because of the air bag problem, AP writes. And Toyota has received 46 reports of air bag problems in North America, one in Japan, and 25 reports of problems related to windshield wipers, AP writes.
The wiper problems affect three kinds of Lexus IS models, AP notes, manufactured between May 2005 and October 2011; these include 270,000 vehicles in the U.S. and nearly 17,000 in Canada. The recall also affects the Lexus IS sold in Europe, the Middle East, and China, Toyota said.
Toyota’s reputation for top quality has been undermined in the past few years by massive recalls for a spate of problems, including bad brakes, gas pedals and floor mats, mostly in the U.S. Executives have repeatedly promised to beef up quality controls and be quicker with recalls to repair Toyota’s image. Toyota has announced some recalls in recent months, but they have been relatively minor, such as floor mats, and generally affect vehicles manufactured before its latest efforts to regain sterling quality.
The AP article notes that last month, Toyota agreed to pay more than $1 billion in the U.S. to settle lawsuits in which vehicle owners said the value of their vehicles decreased after Toyota recalled millions of vehicles for sudden-acceleration problems. “Executives say they are not admitting fault. But they acknowledge the company is eager to put the recall crisis behind it,” AP writes.