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August 25, 2009

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Toyota's largest recall in China

TOYOTA Motor Corp has said it would recall 688,314 Chinese-made vehicles in the largest recall in China.

The recall, starting today, is blamed on a defective switch at the vehicle's window and involved vehicles made by its two Chinese joint ventures.

Toyota said 384,736 units of its Camry mid-class sedan to be recalled were made by its venture with Guangzhou Automotive Industry Corp between May 15, 2006 and December 31, 2008, according to a report to the nation's quality watchdog.

The recall also includes 22,767 Yaris cars made during the same period.

Another batch of 35,523 Vios compact cars manufactured by FAW Toyota between February 18 and December 25 last year were also among the recall, which also involved 245,288 Corolla sedans made by the venture between May 17, 2007 and December 25, 2008.

Toyota said there have been no reports of casualties arising from the defect so far. It would fix the problem for free, according to the statement.

Industry analysts expect the massive recall to perhaps slow Toyota's aggressive expansion in the world's fastest growing market.

"The recall is so huge that it would increase doubts over Toyota's acclaimed high quality manufacturing and damage its product competitiveness in the short term," said Ye Sheng, associate research director of global market research firm Ipsos in Shanghai.

"But it won't be a major problem for Toyota in the long term because it will continue to introduce new products and is well-known for its (after-sales) services."

In April, Toyota recalled nearly 25,000 Camry sedans due to a faulty braking system after the problem was exposed on China Central Television. In October, it recalled more than 83,000 Corolla sedans and Vios made by its FAW venture.


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