x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Toyota recalls 65,000 cars in UAE over fire hazard

Toyota models, including the Camry popular with taxi firms in the UAE, have been recalled because of a defect with the electric windows.

Toyotas affected will require 45 minute inspection said Simon Frith, the managing director of Al-Futtaim Motors, the UAE's authorised dealership.
Toyotas affected will require 45 minute inspection said Simon Frith, the managing director of Al-Futtaim Motors, the UAE's authorised dealership.

DUBAI // More than 65,000 Toyota cars may have a defect with the electric window switch that could be a fire risk. Owners are being asked to take their vehicles to a service centre for inspection.

The recall affects the Camry, Corolla, RAV4 and Yaris models bought between 2006 and 2010, and Sequoias from 2007-2008.

It follows complaints of electrical overheating and minor fires in the United States, after drivers used commercial lubricant to loosen electric window switches that had become stiff.

If owners here try the same remedy “it is possible the switch could melt”, said Simon Frith, managing director of Al-Futtaim Motors, the UAE’s authorised dealership.

The problem affects the switch on the driver’s side. Al-Futtaim will contact customers directly for an appointment at service centres to rectify it.

“All vehicles will require a 45 minute inspection,” said Mr Frith. “Should any lubricant be required to be applied, the team will apply correct lubricants.”

Most of the cars being recalled, 35,647, are Camrys, along with 13,833 Corollas, 11,925 Yaris, 3,443 RAV4s and 347 Sequoias.

The Camry is used widely by taxi and car-hire companies. Dubai Taxi Corporation said they were looking at the implications of the recall.

“Dubai Taxi Corporation has already informed Al-Futtaim and is waiting for the report from them that will show whether DTC vehicles are affected or not,” a spokesman said.

Rahul Singh, general manager of Thrifty Car Rental in Dubai, said recalls were a mixed blessing.

“It is reassuring that this problem gets fixed and the company continues to look after the product once it’s sold,” he said. “But these recalls aren’t always good news.

“When a car is affected we would withdraw it from use, and send it off to the dealership to get it rectified.”

He said it often placed demands on resources. “It’s difficult for us to find a replacement. Any car which is out of service is revenue lost.”

Although most of the company’s fleet are Camrys, he did not expect the recall to have too bad an impact on the business.

“The bulk of our fleet are newer cars,” he said. “Normally once we’ve had a car for three years we sell it on.”

Toyota is recalling about 7.43 million cars worldwide because of the window problem, its largest recall since a fault with the accelerator pedals in thousands of vehicles in 2009 was linked with several fatal accidents. It is also the largest single notice since Ford issued a recall of 7.9 million cars in 1996.

The recall follows an investigation in the US by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into complaints of overheating of the driver-side electric window controls, which in some cases led to small fires. There were 10 cases of minor injuries.

Two months ago Toyota recalled 7,928 Camrys and 319 Aurions in the UAE because of a potential fault in the wheel hose. Globally, Toyota have recalled 14 million cars between 2009 and 2010.

In 2010 the Japanse carmaker was fined US$48.8 million (Dh179.2 million) by the NHTSA for failing to properly handle recalls on the accelerator problem.