Chris Harris August 02, 2012
More than 750,000 soft-roaders recalled in US but Toyota Australia says no.
Toyota has announced a recall of 778,000 RAV4 soft-roaders in the US due to a potential rear suspension failure, but its Australian arm refuses to take similar action, despite documented incidents here.
The Japanese giant’s local subsidiary has reported six cases of excessive noise from the vehicle’s rear and two cases where the rear suspension arm has separated from the body due to improperly tightened nuts on the rear suspension. No accidents have been reported, according to Toyota spokeswoman Beck Angel.
“Customers will be able to hear a noise from the rear of the vehicle or feel the rear of the vehicle wandering,” Ms Angel said.
Instead of issuing a recall, Toyota says it will notify owners of 66,377 RAV4 vehicles built between October 2005 and November 2010 in a letter next month requesting a vehicle inspection at their nearest Toyota service centre, which is said to take about 30 minutes.
However because the campaign isn’t an official safety recall – whereby the car maker must adhere to government guidelines for reaching potentially affected cars – many owners are likely to be unaware of the issue.
If the original owner has moved address or sold the car and it is not serviced at a Toyota dealer, for example, there’s a good chance they will be unaware of the potential suspension failure.
“The cause of the issue is not due to a design or manufacturing defect,” a Toyota Australia statement said. It said the “customer service exercise” spanned Japan, Europe, China, Oceania (including Australia) and other regions.
A statement from Toyota North America says incorrectly tightened nuts on the rear suspension arm may result in excessive play at the threaded portion of the arm, followed by rust formation. If this were to occur, the threaded portion of the rear suspension arm may wear and cause the arm to separate, it says.
Toyota Australia says unlike the US, it rarely adjusts the rear wheel alignment of its vehicles.
“The incidence of adjusting rear wheel alignment in Australia is quite low and based on the reported cases we have an extremely low incidence of this condition,” it says.
Toyota has recalled more than 12 million vehicles worldwide since late 2009, battering its previously stellar reputation for safety and reliability. Its most embarrassing recall included more than 5 million vehicles where "sticking" accelerator pedals were caused by jammed floor mats or carpets.
The latest recall also affects approximately 18,000 examples of the Lexus HS250h in the US, which is not sold in Australia