Toyota is recalling more than 6.5m cars worldwide to fix a variety of problems, including faulty steering wheels and seats.
The company said there have been no reported accidents or injuries relating to the problems identified. Some 27 Toyota models are affected, including the Corolla, RAV4, Hilux, Yaris, Tacoma, Urban Cruiser and Scion xD.
Most of the cars in the latest recall, some 2.3m are in north America, with 825,000 in Europe, including 35,000 in the UK, a figure revised down from an earlier estimate of 50,000. Toyota Australia said it will recall 300,000 cars, including Hilux “utes” and Yaris city cars.
The global recall tally could be revised on Wednesday, when Toyota makes a full statement at its headquarters in Japan, according to Reuters. But a recall of 6.5m would still be one of the largest in history and a huge blow to the world’s biggest selling carmaker that has seen its reputation battered by a string of damaging recalls.
Between 2009-2010 the Japanese company had to fix 10m cars because of braking problems, which it later admitted were caused by over-hasty expansion.
The recall covers a variety of issues, with including a faulty connection from the steering wheel to the airbag. Toyota also reported problems with sea rails, the bracket that holds the steering column in place and the windscreen-wiper motor Some vehicles were recalled for more than one problem.
In the UK, the recall affects some 25,000 RAV4 and Hilux models bought between June 2004 and December 2010; these cars have a faulty connection from the steering wheel to the airbag, meaning that a certain turn of the wheel could cause the airbag to deactivate. “If connectivity is lost, the airbag warning light will illuminate on the instrument panel and the driver’s airbag may be deactivated,” the company said.
In the US, that problem affects 1.3m vehicles, including certain models of the Corolla.
Toyota has also found a problem with the sliding mechanism in the front passenger seat of some models of the Yaris and the Urban Cruiser – sold in the US as the Scion xD – meaning they could break with repeated use. “Should the spring break, the seat may not lock into its adjusted position, and could move in the event of a crash,” the company said.
This problem affects 10,000 UK-registered vehicles built between January 2005 and August 2010, and 472,500 vehicles in the US built between 2006 and 2010.
Toyota said the recall affected 6.39m of its own vehicles, a figure that rises to 6.76 million when the some models of the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia are taken into account. The Pontiac Vibe, a General Motors model, is involved because Toyota and GM made cars at the same plant in California and the recalled model is the same as the Toyota Matrix. Subaru is partly owned by Toyota, and the model was the same as the Toyota Ractis.
The company said it would contact customers in the coming weeks to make an appointment for the free repairs. Drivers can check if their vehicle is affected by using a registration number search function on the Toyota website.