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

Toyota recalls first mass-produced EVs 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, U.S., 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 due to the risk of the wheels coming off.

The world’s largest automaker by sales has submitted the recall of bZ4X SUVs to the Japanese Ministry of Transport. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were destined for Europe, 260 for the United States, 20 for Canada and 110 for Japan, the company said.

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

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Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and hard braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, increasing the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle. He said he was not aware of any accidents caused by the defect.

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

All of the recalled cars in Japan had not yet been delivered to customers because they were intended for test drives and exhibitions, spokespersons for the automakers said.

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

A Toyota spokesman said not all models were subject to the recall, but declined to say how many it built in total.

For Subaru, most vehicles were destined for dealerships and none were delivered to customers in the United States, a Subaru spokesperson said.

The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative laggard in the electric vehicle market, rolled out the electric SUV, bZ4X, in the domestic market, albeit as a lease-only option.

Toyota’s unit that offers the leases, KINTO, has canceled planned test-drive promotional events in three Japanese cities for safety measures.

Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental organizations for not moving quickly enough to phase out gas-powered cars and adopt electric vehicles instead.

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

Gasoline-electric hybrid models remain far more popular in Toyota’s home market than electric vehicles, which accounted for just 1% of passenger cars sold in Japan last year, according to industry data.

Still, the market is growing rapidly, and foreign automakers, including Tesla Inc (TSLA.O), are making visible inroads on the streets of cities like Tokyo.

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

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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