Toyota recalls 600,000 minivans in the US on corrosion problems

With Toyota coming under intense scrutiny from the US regulators and lawmakers, compelling it to recall over six million vehicles this year, the world's largest carmaker said yesterday that it was recalling 600,000 minivans in the US to address corrosion problems.

The Japanese automaker said that its latest recall is for approximately 600,000 first- and second-generation Sienna 2WD minivans as the spare tyre carrier cable could potentially corrode.

It said that the condition affects certain of its Siennas minivans manufactured from 1998 through 2010, sold in cold-weather states with high road salt use. It said that continued prolonged exposure to road salts may cause excessive corrosion of the carrier cable in some of these vehicles.

''In the worst case, the carrier cable may fail and the spare tyre could become separated from the vehicle, a road hazard for following vehicles that increases the likelihood of a crash,'' said the carmaker in a statement.

Although Toyota has not got a fix for this problem, it said that it is currently working to develop a remedy for this condition and until this remedy is developed, customers will receive an interim notice instructing them to bring their vehicle to a dealership for a preliminary inspection.
Toyota did not mention whether there were any accidents or injuries arising out of this problem.

This latest recall comes after the carmaker temporarily suspended sales of the Lexus GX 460 SUV when Consumer Reports magazine reported that the vehicle was a ''safety risk''since it could probably topple over during sharp turns. (See: Toyota suspends sales of GX 460 SUV after ''safety risk'' warning)

Aichi-based Toyota, which had 2009 revenues of $08.995 billion, is still struggling with a series of global recalls, which are estimated to cost the company about $2 billion in repairs, lawsuits and a battered image. (See: Toyota's global recall to cost $2 billion)

The $2 billion loss has effectively wiped out the Japanese auto maker's last quarterly profits, while its stock price has slumped 23 per cent in the last two weeks and forced Toyota president Akio Toyoda, grandson of Toyota's founder to come on a Japanese TV to apologise and take personal responsibility for the crisis.