Toyota recalled 470,000 vehicles in Japan Wednesday for
engine, steering and motor problems in the latest sign of growing
quality problems as the automaker embarks on ambitious global
None of the recalled models were exported, Toyota Motor Corp.
said. There were no reports of accidents related to the defects, but
more than 300 problems were reported.
President Katsuaki Watanabe has repeatedly cautioned about the
need for more vigilance in product quality as the Japanese
manufacturer of Camry sedans and Lexus luxury models boosts
production to meet demand.
Toyota was investigated last year in Japan on suspicion of
negligence in a faulty part that may have caused a 2004 head-on
The probe has not resulted in any charges, but Watanabe has
apologized for public fears about quality problems.
Toyota has faced an increasing number of recalls in recent years,
partly due to its effort to cut costs by using the same parts across
In the latest recall, an engine problem was found in the Crown
sedan and several other models, sold from 1999 through 2004, which
may cause fuel to leak, Toyota said.
Separately, a defect in the fuel pump of the Vitz compact and
other models could cause the engine to stall and fail to restart, it
said. Those recalled models were sold from 2003 through 2005.
Toyota also found that the bolt connecting the steering shaft to
the gear box wasn't properly tightened in the bB vehicle, sold from
January last year through March this year, which could result in
Toyota declined to say how much the recall would cost.
Earlier this year, Toyota set a goal of selling 10.4 million
vehicles globally in 2009, well above the industry's 30-year-old
record held by General Motors Corp.
At that time, Watanabe said he was going after quality _ not
Toyota is planning to sell 9.3 million vehicles this year, a
number that could end up beating GM, the world's No. 1 automaker.
GM, which sold 9.1 million vehicles worldwide last year, doesn't
give a forecast for this year.