TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling 6.5 million vehicles worldwide for a defective power window switch that can overheat, melt and lead to fires.
One injury in the U.S., a person who suffered a burn on the hand, has been reported. Toyota has also received 11 reports of cases in which the switch or part of the car door burned – seven in North America, two in Japan and two in other areas – the Japanese automaker said Wednesday.
The recall includes 2.7 million vehicles in North America, 1.2 million in Europe and 600,000 in Japan. In the U.S., 2 million vehicles are affected, covering 10 models with model years ranging from 2006 to 2011.
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The defect was caused when grease was improperly sprayed on during the manufacturing of electrical contact modules. Debris or moisture could enter the module, and that could lead to a short circuit, Toyota said.
Dealers will replace an internal circuit board if the switches are not working normally. If they are working properly, a heat-resistant grease will be applied.
Toyota has promised to be quicker with recalls after suffering a scandal starting in 2009 which ballooned into a massive recall over various problems, including faulty floor mats, defective brakes and sticky gas pedals. The scandal resulted in fines imposed on Toyota by U.S. authorities.
Other automakers have been embroiled in scandals since then, including General Motors Co. over an ignition switch recall, Japanese supplier Takata Corp. over defective air bags, and more recently Volkswagen AG of Germany over rigged emissions tests.
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So far this year, about 40 million cars and trucks have been recalled in the U.S., a higher-than-normal number but far short of last year’s record of 63.7 million vehicles. Last year’s number was more than double the old record from a decade ago.
The following cars in the U.S. are covered by the recall: the 2007 and 2009 Camry; the 2009-2011 Corolla, Matrix, Sequoia, Tundra, and Scion xB; the 2006-2011 RAV4; the 2008-2011 Highlander; the 2006-2010 Yaris and the 2009-2010 Scion xD. Toyota said it recalled some 2007-2009 vehicles previously for a similar problem.