Local Toyota car owners to be affected by recall

South African owners of Toyota cars will be affected by the Japanese manufacturer’s latest massive global recall of vehicles to fix faults in key components. However, Toyota SA said it would only know the full scope of the local recall on Thursday.
Toyota Motor Corporation headquarters. Image via
Toyota Motor Corporation headquarters. Image via Wikimedia
Toyota Motor Corp announced on Wednesday that 3.37-million cars needed checking for possible cracks in airbags and exhaust emission-control units. The airbag defect could cause units to inflate partially and suddenly, while the emission-control problem could cause fuel leaks. The company said no injuries had been reported from either problem but there had been several incidents of airbags inflating in parked cars.

It said certain Prius hybrid car models suffered from both the airbag and emissions unit defect. Other vehicles potentially affected by the latter included Auris and Corolla cars built between 2006 and 2015. The airbag issue extended to Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand – specifically CT200h models produced from 2010 to 2012.

Reports from Japan said the faulty airbags were supplied by a Swedish company, Autoliv, which had won Toyota business after an earlier airbag recall involving Japanese supplier Takata.

Toyota SA said some SA customers would certainly be affected and that it would release a statement with details. While Auris, Prius and Lexus cars are all imported, the Corolla is manufactured at Toyota SA’s Durban assembly plant and some components are sourced from local suppliers.

Standard practice

Safety-related vehicle recalls have become standard practice among nearly all manufacturers, sometimes in response to reported faults and sometimes as a pre-emptive move. Huge financial penalties for not reporting issues have persuaded companies not to take risks. In 2014, Toyota paid a $1.2bn fine, the biggest yet, for not owning up to problems with accelerator pedals, and General Motors later had to cough up R900m for not sorting out faulty ignition switches. Both issues were blamed for multiple deaths.

US transportation authorities report that in 2015, 51.26-million vehicles were recalled throughout the world. Takata, which supplied airbags to several manufacturers, was involved in more than 17-million. Its products have been linked to at least eight deaths and up to 100 injuries after they deployed with excessive force, firing metal scraps into the car interior.