Toyota recalls 6.4 million vehicles over faults

Glitches found in seats, airbags, steering wheels and engine starter

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota has recalled 6.4 million vehicles globally over five separate glitches, affecting more than 35,000 cars in the UK.

The Japanese giant said that five separate production faults were the cause, taking the number of Toyota recalls beyond 25 million over the past two and a half years.

Some 3.5 million vehicles are being recalled to replace a spiral cable which could mean the airbag fails to activate in a crash. Another 2.32 million models might have faulty seat rails, causing the seat to slide forward in a crash. Other problems affect the wiring, engine starters and windscreen wipers.

Toyota said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by these glitches, which affect 27 of its models. Some 2.3 million of the affected vehicles are in the US, another 1.4 million in Japan, and about 35,000 UK cars are being recalled. These are the RAV4 and Hilux models bought between June 2004 and December 2010 and some Yaris and Urban Cruisers built between January 2005 and August 2010.

Just two months ago, Toyota was forced to call 1.9 million of its most-advanced Prius cars — almost half of the model’s total production — back to garages because of a computer glitch in its hybrid power system.

Another seven million Toyota vehicles were recalled in 2012 because of a fire risk connected to faulty window switches. In 2009 the carmaker faced serious safety questions after it was found that floor mats could trap the accelerator pedal of models including the Rav4 and Corolla, causing accidents that allegedly led to dozens of deaths around the world. That recall battered the car giant’s reputation and culminated in a record $1.2 billion (£717.1 million) fine with US prosecutors agreed only last month. More private lawsuits are pending.

The Japanese firm’s deluge of recalls have damaged a brand once famed for its reliability.

Today’s news sent shares in Toyota down nearly 5% to 5364 yen (£31.40).

Toyota said it will contact customers in the coming weeks to book free repairs. Drivers can check if their vehicle is affected on the Toyota website.

The recalls come as rival General Motors is being investigated for failing to act on a known ignition-switch defect linked to a dozen deaths. It has recalled 1.6 million vehicles over the issue.

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