Toyota, the Japanese giant carmaker is recalling 121,930 cars in China to rectify a problem that could result in drivers loosing steering control.
The recalled vehicles, 54,657 Reiz and 62,517 Crown sedans were made by Toyota's venture with FAW Group between February 2005 and October 2006 and the 4,756 Lexus luxury models were made in Japan between February 2004 and September 2006, according to a notice released by China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
Due to manufacturing defects, the electric power steering (EPS) system on these vehicles could fail to function and lead to steering failure in the worst cases, the notice said. The notice did not state whether any accidents have been reported due to the defects.
Toyota will now contact owners of the affected vehicles, conduct free checks and replace the defected parts at no cost.
A history of recalls
Tianjin Faw Toyota Motor Company had recalled three models of its automobiles from 3 November 2008- a total of over 83,000 units.
These automobiles included 8,640 units of Vios, manufactured between 14 February 2008 and 10 June 2008; 31,104 units of Corolla EX manufactured between 1 June 2007 and 10 June 2008; and 43,662 units of Corolla made between 17 May 2007 and 10 June 2008. All the vehicles had manual transmission.
According to the recall report Tianjin Faw Toyota has submitted to the quality regulator, that the nut used to fix the shift shaft of the manual transmission and the gear lever might get loose and lead to failure in changing gears, which under extreme conditions might cause accidents or damages. The company had said it would inspect all the recalled vehicles to eliminate any latent problems.
Faw Toyota Motor Sales Company had been commissioned by Tianjin Faw Toyota to inform car owners about the issue via special delivery letters; distributors will also notify customers by telephone or text messages to go to nearby Toyota Motor sales service depots for the examination and repair work.
A few days earlier, Guangzhou Toyota had decided to recall 278 units of the Toyota Yaris produced between May 15, 2008 and June 5, 2008 for the same reason.
Declining sales add to woes
In the first half of 2008, FAW Toyota posted remarkable sales growth, but since July its sales have been sliding.
In November the company sold only 23,051 vehicles, a record monthly low, with the total sales of 321, 434 units in the first 11 months, leaving the full-year 400,000-unit target impossible to meet. Obviously its supply must have exceeded the market demand.
FAW Toyota has cut two hours from each working day to reduce the output. The sales of the joint venture, which makes many Toyota models for the Chinese market, will also affects Toyota's performance in China. The New Toyota Vios made by JV only sold 1,428 units last month. The low sales of many models have forced the company to halt production to ease the oversupply.