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Thursday, December 08, 2022

Toyota recalls first mass-produced EV less than 2 months after launch

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X all-electric SUV is displayed during the 2021 LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, US November 17, 2021. Reuters/Mike Blake

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TOKYO, June 23 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Thursday it would recall 2,700 of its first mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) for the global market because of the risk of loose wheels. can be.

The world’s largest automaker by sales has informed the Ministry of Transport of Japan about the recall of bZ4X SUVs. The company said that of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were earmarked for Europe, 260 for the United States, 10 for Canada and 110 for Japan.

Subaru Corp (7270.T) also said on Thursday that it is recalling about 2,600 units of Solterra globally, its first all-electric vehicle jointly developed with Toyota for the same reason.

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Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and sudden braking can loosen the hub bolts, increasing the risk of a vehicle’s wheel fall. It said it was not aware of any mishaps caused by the malfunction.

The regulator advised drivers to stop using the vehicle until a more “permanent” repair measure is in place.

A spokesperson for the automaker said all the cars recalled to Japan had not yet been delivered to customers as they were meant for test drives and displays.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you,” Toyota said on its website. “We would have fixed it as soon as possible, but we are investigating the details.”

A Toyota spokesperson said not every model was recalled, but declined to say how many models it had made in total.

A Subaru spokesperson said that for Subaru, most vehicles were to dealers and none were delivered to customers in the US.

The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative late in the EV market, introduced the electric SUV, the bZ4X, to the domestic market, though only as a lease option.

Toyota’s unit offering leases, Kinto, has canceled promotional test-drive events held in three Japanese cities for safety measures.

Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental organizations for not doing enough to phase out gasoline-powered cars and adopt EVs instead.

The company has repeatedly pushed back against criticism, arguing the need to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.

Gasoline-electric hybrid models are far more popular than EVs in Toyota’s domestic market, which accounted for just 1% of passenger cars sold in Japan last year, based on industry data.

Nevertheless, the market is growing rapidly and foreign automakers, including Tesla Inc. (TSLA.O), are making inroads into the streets of cities such as Tokyo.

(This story corrects the number of vehicles to be recalled in Canada to 10 in the second paragraph, not 20, after Toyota corrected the figure.)

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Reporting by Satoshi Sugiyama and Maki Shiraki Editing by Jane Merriman and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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