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

The 2023 all-electric Toyota bZ4X SUV is on display at the 2021 LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, US, Nov. 17, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

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TOKYO, June 23 (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said Thursday it would recall 2,700 of its first mass-produced electric vehicles (EVs) from the global market due to the risk that the wheels could come off.

The world’s largest automaker has filed the recall of its bZ4X SUVs with the Japanese Ministry of Transportation. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were destined for Europe, 260 for the United States, 10 for Canada and 110 for Japan, the company said.

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

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The Japanese safety authority said sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, increasing the risk of a wheel coming loose from the vehicle. He says he is not aware of any accidents 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 drives and exhibitions, spokespersons for the carmakers said.

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

A Toyota spokesman said not every model was recalled, but declined to say how many have been built in total.

For Subaru, most vehicles were destined for dealers and none were delivered to customers in the US, a Subaru spokesperson said.

The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative latecomer to the EV market, rolled out the electric SUV, bZ4X, domestically, albeit as a lease-only option.

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

Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental groups for not acting fast enough to phase out gasoline cars and embrace EVs instead.

The company has repeatedly resisted the criticism, arguing that it needed to offer a variety of powertrains for different markets and customers.

Gasoline-electric hybrid models remain much more popular in Toyota’s domestic market than EVs, which accounted for just 1% of passenger car sales in Japan last year, according to industry data.

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

(This story corrects the number of vehicles for a recall in Canada in the second paragraph to 10, not 20, after Toyota corrected the figure)

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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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