Toyota recalls cars in China over fire risk

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Toyota was forced to issues a recall on more than 680,000 cars in China yesterday, potentially jeopardising its position in the world’s fastest-growing market.

The problem is a flaw in electric window switches affecting some Camry and Yaris models made by Toyota’s Guangzhou joint venture, and some Vios and Corolla cars made by the Tianjin joint venture. Although the fault has not caused any injuries or accidents, over-lubrication of the switch during manufacture means a blob of grease could go astray, short-circuiting the electronics and potentially causing a fire.

The recall is bad news for Toyota as the Japanese car giants fight hard for a toehold in the Middle Kingdom. Not only does China rival the US as the world’s biggest car market, but annual growth tipped to hit 10 per cent this year is a rare bright spot in a battered global industry.

Toyota produced nearly half a million cars in China last year, all of them for the domestic market. But yesterday recall is the second in a year. In April, the company recalled 260,000 Chinese-build cars because of brake problems.