10 Apr 2014

Toyota recalling 6.4m vehicles worldwide

6:00 am on 10 April 2014

Japanese car giant Toyota is recalling 6.4 million vehicles globally, including up to 40,000 in New Zealand - one of the largest recalls ever made.

The latest recall, which affects 27 different models and concerns five separate issues, is the fifth major one the company has issued in recent months. Vehicles recalled include the RAV4, Yaris and Corolla models produced between 2004 and 2013. Drivers are urged to contact their local dealer.

The popular RAV4 is among the vehicles affected.

The popular RAV4 is among the vehicles affected. Photo: AFP

Some 3.5 million vehicles are being recalled to replace a spiral cable attached to the driver's side airbag. It may be damaged when the steering wheel is turned and result in the airbag not being deployed in a crash, the BBC reports.

Other issues include problems with seat rails, steering columns, windscreen wipers and a glitch with the engine starters that poses a fire risk.

Toyota said it was not aware of any vehicle crashes, injuries or deaths caused by these conditions. However, it said it had received two reports of fires in connection with the engine starter problem.

The carmaker said that "due to inefficiencies in the design of the starter motor relays, metallic particles might accumulate on the contacts within the relay". It said that if the relays continued to be used, the particles could come off and enter the relay's circuitry and in the "worst case, this could lead to the starter relays catching fire".

Approximately 2.32 million vehicles are being recalled over problems with the seat rails; some 760,000 vehicles because of a potential defect with the steering column bracket; and nearly 160,000 vehicles to replace the windshield wiper motors.

Toytoa logo.

Photo: AFP / Getty Images North America

The carmaker is not saying now much the latest recall will cost and it is not clear if the faults stem from Toyota's suppliers or its manfacturing process.

In February, Toyota called back 1.9 million of its top-selling Prius hybrid cars due to a software fault that might cause the vehicle to slow down suddenly. In the latter half of 2013, it issued separate recalls affecting more than 2.2 million vehicles. Overall, it has recalled more than 25 million vehicles over the past two-and-a-half years.


Toyota New Zealand on Wednesday named makes and models that are included.


  • SPIRAL CABLE: In New Zealand, models sold as new and affected by a spiral cable recall are certain RAV4, PRADO and HILUX produced between June 2004 and December 2010. This affects 200,000 vehicles in Oceania, and Toyota New Zealand staff are working to identify every New Zealand vehicle affected. The spiral cable is installed in the steering column to connect steering wheel mounted electrical systems.
  • SEAT RAIL: Vehicles sold in New Zealand new and affected are 7506 YARIS produced between January 2005 and August 2010. There is potential for the springs used in the seat locking mechanism to break if the seat is adjusted very frequently. It also affects 6153 imported VITZ, IST, BELTA and RACTIS models.
  • STEERING COLUMN BRACKET: 100 YARIS vehicles with tilt/telescopic steering adjustment produced between September 2005 and February 2009 are affected. Some 1037 used imported RACTIS and IST models are also affected.


  • DRAIN OUTLET: 993 imported Toyota RACTIS vehicles are affected by a recall relating to possible clogging of drain outlets in the cowl top reinforcement directly under the wiper motor mounting area.
  • ENGINE STARTER RECALL: 382 RACTIS vehicles manufactured in 2013 and sold new in Hong Kong are subject to an engine starter recall. It is extremely unlikely any of these vehicles have been imported to New Zealand, but Toyota New Zealand is checking.