Toyota is recalling the first mass-produced electric cars less than 2 months after launch

2023 Toyota bZ4X all-electric SUV unveiled at LA Auto Show 2021 in Los Angeles, California, USA November 17, 2021. REUTERS / Mike Blake

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TOKYO, June 23 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said on Thursday that it will recall 2,700 of its first mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) for the global market due to a risk of the wheels loosening.

The world’s largest car manufacturer measured in sales sent the recall of the bZ4X SUVs to Japan’s Ministry of Transport. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were earmarked for Europe, 260 for the United States, 20 for Canada and 110 for Japan, the company said.

Subaru Corp (7270.T) also said on Thursday that they are recalling around 2,600 units of Solterra globally, the first all-electric vehicle developed with Toyota, for the same reason.

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Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and abrupt braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, increasing the risk of a wheel falling off the vehicle. It said they were not aware that any accidents were caused by the defect.

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

All the cars recalled in Japan had not yet been delivered to customers, as they were intended for test driving and viewing, spokesmen for the car manufacturers said.

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

A spokesman for Toyota said that not all models were the subject of the recall, but declined to say how many they have built in total.

For Subaru, most of the vehicles were for dealers, and none were delivered to customers in the United States, a spokesman for Subaru said.

The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative of the electric car market, rolled out the electric SUV, bZ4X, to the domestic market, albeit as an alternative to leasing.

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

Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental organizations for not acting fast enough to phase out petrol-powered cars and embrace electric cars instead.

The company has repeatedly pushed back against the criticism, arguing for the need to offer a range of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.

Gasoline-electric hybrid models are still far more popular in Toyota’s domestic market than electric cars, which accounted for only 1% of passenger cars sold in Japan last year, based on industry data.

Nevertheless, the market is growing rapidly and foreign car manufacturers including Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) are making visible interventions in 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: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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