Toyota SA is to recall 52 546 vehicles because of accelerator problems, the company’s president said in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The recall would be limited to Toyota Corolla models from February 2007 to January 2010, Toyota Auris models from June 2006 to January 2010, and Toyota Verso models from October 2008 to January 2010.
“At this point I would like to emphasise that our action is pre-emptive and based on obsession with building quality products, something that we are known for,” said Toyota president and chief executive officer Johan Van Zyl.
Around 60 000 vehicles exported from South Africa to countries in Africa and Europe were also expected to form part of the recall.
The number of recalled vehicles worldwide escalated to over eight million worldwide after Toyota recalled around 437 000 Prius’ across the globe.
Contacting Prius owners
In South Africa, Van Zyl said Toyota SA was in the process of contacting the owners of the new Prius model to arrange for a “software” upgrade at their convenience.
“We have approached the Toyota Motor Corporation to obtain the necessary upgrade that would be required regardless of whether South African-specified vehicles showed similar traits,” he said.
The problem with the Prius related to a software setting which “in some cases” created a “feeling of delay” between stepping on the brake and feeling the brakes activate, he said.
“This manifests itself in extreme cases when a Prius owner applies brakes when driving on rough and rutted roads, ice, or through a pothole.” Toyota had been informed of this by colleagues in Japan.
Stopping short of calling this a “recall” of Prius’s, Van Zyl said the cars in line for the software upgrade would be the models from August 2009 to February 2010 and amounted to 216 vehicles.
He acknowledged that the Toyota brand and image had taken a knock, but he reiterated that the company was committed to enhancing its safety and quality mechanisms to ensure that “something like this doesn’t happen again”.