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Toyota set for mammoth recall

2009-01-28 14:00
Tokyo - Toyota Motor Corp said on Wednesday it would recall more than 1.35 million Vitz (called Yaris in South Africa) and two other models globally to fix a defect in the seatbelt, a component in the exhaust system or both.

Subject to the recall in Japan are 525 898 Vitz, Belta and Ractis cars built from January 2005 to April 2008, Toyota said in a filing with the transport ministry.

It will also recall a combined 830 000 units of the Vitz subcompact, called Yaris in many markets, and Belta exported to Europe, North America and other markets, a spokeswoman said.

One case of fire was reported in Japan due to the faulty seatbelt design, which could cause a noise-absorber device to melt when the seatbelt tensioner is activated in a collision, Toyota said.

No accident was reported in Japan from the defective exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) pipe, which could crack in the worst-case scenario and cause exhaust gases that fail to clear emissions standards to leak.

Toyota declined to disclose the estimated cost of the recalls.

Locally, a Toyota spokesman has confirmed that 51 000 Yaris units are affected in South Africa.

"The recall campaign is being conducted through the dealerships who will contact affected owners directly. The local recall is only for the seatbelt pretensioners and does not include the exhaust defect."

It should take about an hour to an hour-and-a-half to replace the seatbelt. The campaign starts on Thursday, he added. 

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