Toyota to recall 50,000 vehicles in Philippines

Posted at 04/10/14 1:06 PM

The Toyota logo is seen at a dealership in Ruemlang, outside Zurich. Photo by Michael Buholzer, Reuters

MANILA, Philippines - Toyota Philippines on Thursday said more than 50,000 Innovas, Fortuners and Hiluxes that were sold locally are covered by the global recall.

On Wednesday, Toyota Motor Corp announced it would recall 6.39 million vehicles globally.

Of the total, Toyota said some 3.5 million vehicles were being recalled to replace a spiral cable that could be damaged when the steering wheel is turned. That could cause the air bag to fail in the event of a crash, the automaker said.

In the Philippines, the recall covers 50,260 vehicles sold locally between November 2004 to June 2010:

Innova (2004-2009) - 47,012
Fortuner (2004-2010) - 2,659
Hilux (2004-2010) - 589.

However, Toyota said no incidents involving the spiral cable have been reported in the Philippines.

Toyota said authorized dealers will replace the spiral cable assembly free of charge. Toyota Motor Philippines will notify all owners of the affected units advising them to set appointments with their respective dealerships.

For more information, car owners are advised to contact the Toyota Customer Assistance Center at (02) 819 2912 or visit a Toyota dealership.

Global recall

Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp, in its second-largest recall announcement, said on Wednesday that it would call back 6.39 million vehicles globally, and analysts saw automakers increasingly turning to recalls rather than risk bad publicity or legal costs.

Rival General Motors Co is in the midst of its own recall of 2.6 million cars related to an ignition switch problem, which has been linked to at least 13 deaths.

Toyota Motor said it was not aware of any crashes or injuries caused by the glitches, which were found in 27 Toyota models including the RAV4 and Yaris subcompact. It uncovered five different faults involving parts ranging from steering to seats.

Toyota said problems were also found in the Pontiac Vibe and the Subaru Trezia, two models the automaker built for General Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries.

The automaker did not say now much the recalls would cost, and it was not clear if the faults stemmed from Toyota's suppliers or its manufacturing process.

The move by Toyota to announce five different recalls on a single day from Tokyo comes as major automakers face increasing scrutiny in the United States on how quickly they take preventive safety action and how quickly they share information with regulators and the public.

Toyota agreed last month to pay $1.2 billion to the U.S. government for withholding information related to unintended acceleration in its vehicles. That safety crisis had caused Toyota to recall more than 9 million vehicles.

"The negative publicity is causing automakers to react faster," said Dennis Virag, president of the Automotive Consulting Group. "The harm done to Toyota and GM is significant. Others don't want to suffer the same fate."

General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra was grilled by Congress last week on her company's late response to the ignition switch issue.

Morningstar analyst David Whiston said that costs of recalls can pale in comparison to potential fines and other legal costs.

"The latest Toyota recall is a preventative measure. There have been no fatalities, but recalling the vehicles now will not lead to months of headlines, congressional hearings and fines from the Department of Justice," he said.

In the second-largest of the Toyota recalls, some 2.32 million three-door models made between January 2005 and August 2010 are being recalled to check for a fault in the seat rails that could cause the seat to slide forward in a crash, risking injury for the driver or passengers.

The other recalls are for faulty steering column brackets, windshield wiper motors and engine starters.

The recall announcement, which came during late afternoon Tokyo trade, knocked an additional 2 percent off Toyota's already sagging shares.

They quickly pared the extra losses, however, and ended down 3 percent at 5,450 yen, reflecting an overall weak tone in the market where the benchmark Nikkei average fell 2.1 percent.

Toyota's 6.39 million vehicle recall is the largest announced on a single day for the company since October 2012, when it called back 7.43 million Yaris, Corolla and other models to fix faulty power window switches. - With reports from Reuters and Coco Alcuaz, ANC