Toyota to recall 6.4 million vehicles for steering, other faults

Wed Apr 9, 2014 8:44pm EDT
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By Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote), in its second-largest recall announcement, said on Wednesday that it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally, and analysts saw automakers increasingly turning to recalls rather than risk bad publicity or legal costs.

Rival General Motors Co is in the midst of its own recall of 2.6 million cars related to an ignition switch problem, which has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker said, it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact. It uncovered five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats.

Toyota said problems were also found in the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, two models the automaker built for General Motors (GM.N: Quote) and Fuji Heavy Industries (7270.T: Quote).

The automaker did not say how much the recalls would cost, and it was not clear if the faults stemmed from Toyota's suppliers or its manufacturing process.

The move by Toyota to announce five different recalls on a single day from Tokyo comes as major automakers face increasing scrutiny in the United States on how quickly they take preventive safety action and how quickly they share information with regulators and the public.

Toyota agreed last month to pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. government for withholding information related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles. That safety crisis had caused Toyota to recall more than 9 million vehicles.

"The negative publicity is causing automakers to react faster," said Dennis Virag, president of the Automotive Consulting Group. "The harm done to Toyota and GM is significant. Others don't want to suffer the same fate."   Continued...

The Toyota logo is seen at a dealership in Ruemlang, outside Zurich in this October 10, 2012 file photo. REUTERS/Michael Buholzer/Files