Toyota Motor Corp announced on Wednesday of a massive recall involving 6.4 million vehicles worldwide after at least five defects were found, ranging from faulty airbags and seat rails to defective windshield wipers.
The recall affects a total of 27 Toyota models, including the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, which were manufactured from April 2004 to August 2013.
The global recall involve some 2.3 million vehicles in North America, 810,000 in Europe, more than 300,000 in Australia, 40,000 in New Zealand and more than 500,000 in Canada, among others.
Toyota said it is unaware and has yet to receive reports of crashes, injuries or deaths caused by the problems, which include:
- Faulty spiral cables for driver's air bags involving 3.5 million units
- Possible locking problems on seat rails involving 2.3 million units
- Failing steering column brackets involving 760,000 units
- Windshield wipers with drainage problems involving 160,000 units
- Possible fire hazard in starter motors involving 20,000 units
Clive Matthew Wilson, editor of motoring website 'The Dog and Lemon Guide,' said the faults and resulting recalls were an event in the making as a result of the company's cost cutting.
"In the early 21st century Toyota came up with the brilliant idea of making one part that would fit millions and millions of cars, and also built parts relatively cheaply in order to maximise profits at that time, and now that policy has come back to bite them," he told Radio New Zealand (RNZ).
Spencer Morris, Toyota New Zealand's general manager of customer services, denied the recall was triggered by the usage of cheap parts.
"There's many factors that cause recalls," he said.
"During the period that Clive talked about we grew quite quickly and we moved a lot of production offshore, so yes, we did make some mistakes, but the failure rate on the parts we're talking about in this recall is extremely low and this is a precautionary measure," he told RNZ.
"What we want to do is fix the problem before it leads to something much worse."