Toyota Recalls 600,000 Vehicles in Europe

Toyota said it is recalling 600,000 vehicles in Europe to check for loose nuts in the rear wheel area. The recall concerns three models -- RAV4 sport-utility vehicles, Avensis family and Auris compact cars -- and follows the recall of 780,000 U.S. vehicles for the same problem. Toyota said the recall is not due to a "concept or design" error but a problem that arises during maintenance.

Toyota Motor Corp. (IW 1000/5) said it is recalling 600,000 vehicles in Europe to check for loose nuts in the rear wheel area, following a similar recall in the United States.

The recall concerns three models -- RAV4 sport-utility vehicles, Avensis family and Auris compact cars -- and follows the recall of 780,000 U.S. vehicles for the same problem.

Toyota said the recall is not due to a "concept or design" error but a problem that arises during maintenance.

When it announced the U.S. recall, Toyota said it had determined that if nuts on the rear suspension arm of some of its vehicles were tightened incorrectly after a wheel alignment, rust could form to the point where parts break off.

These latest recalls come a month after Toyota added two models to a controversial 2009 recall launched after floor mats became trapped under the accelerator and were linked to accidents that allegedly caused dozens of deaths.

Toyota's mishandling of the initial problem and other reports of sudden unintended acceleration led to the recall of more than 12 million vehicles worldwide, a U.S. congressional probe, more than $50 million in fines from U.S. regulators and public apologies by its chief.

Toyota has worked hard since to regain its once-stellar reputation for safety, even as the Japanese giant faced the impact of the economic crisis, a strong yen and the devastating 2011 quake and tsunami.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012   

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