Toyota faced another embarrassing blow to its reputation today, when the Japanese carmarker recalled 2.7 million vehicles to fix faulty steering problems — meaning owners have had to return more than 18 million motors to forecourts in just three years.
The latest recall affects nine models, including 75,000 Corolla, Avensis, and Prius vehicles in the UK, due to problems with the steering mechanism and, in the hybrid Prius, a separate potential hitch with the water pump. Toyota said no accidents had stemmed from the latest issues. But the recall comes just a month after the carmaker called back more than seven million vehicles because of a fire risk connected to faulty window switches. And in 2009, Toyota faced major safety concerns after problems emerged with the accelerator pedals of models including the RAV4 and Corolla. Issues with floor mats trapping the accelerator pedal led to allegations that Toyota cars had caused crashes leading to dozens of deaths around the world, and almost 12 million cars were recalled.
Toyota has also been hit by a plunge in car sales in China since September, because buyers in the world’s biggest vehicle market are boycotting Japanese cars over a territorial spat between Tokyo and Beijing. Toyota’s sales in China have fallen by half this autumn and it suspended work at one of its plants in the country.