TOYOTA South Africa is recalling more than 4,000 Corolla cars to replace faulty inflators that could cause airbags to “deploy abnormally” in a crash.
“The affected cars were built between April 2002 and June 2004. Dealers would contact affected owners. The repair would take about two hours.” said Spokeswoman Mary Willemse.
The operation is part of yet another global vehicle recall by the Japanese manufacturer. This timeinvloving 2.7-million cars and vans with airbags that the company said could cause fire when they inflate however this recall was precautionary and no serious incidents had been reported.
Although the worldwide recall involves about 20 Toyota models, Ms Willemse said only the Toyota Corolla was affected in South Africa. An estimated 4,349 cars were affected.
She said it was the second airbag scare for these cars. Last year, owners were advised to have their airbags checked. This time all inflators would be replaced.
This is the fourth major recall for Toyota so far this year. In February, it recalled 1.9-million Prius hybrid cars because of potential fire risks; in April it was 6.4-million vehicles — including 100,000 in South Africa — with a variety of faults and in May 520,000 vehicles, mainly in North America, for a corrosion issue that could cause spare tyres to fall off.
Previously, Toyota recalled more than 10-million vehicles in 2010 and 7-million in 2012.
To rub salt into the wounds, the company agreed in March this year to pay a $1.2bn fine to settle charges it failed to act on faulty accelerators blamed for several US deaths.
Toyota, however, is by no means the only motor group under scrutiny for the safety of its vehicles. Motor industry analysts reckon 60-million vehicles would be recalled to fix safety defects this year, including 30-million in the US.
General Motors CE Mary Barra said on Tuesday that the US company had set aside $1.75bn to cover the cost of recalling 2.6-million cars with faulty ignition switches.
That may be the least of her financial worries. GM is likely to face severe penalties after government regulators accused it of covering up the ignition fault, which is linked to at least 12 deaths.