TOKYO — Toyota is recalling 6.5 million vehicles worldwide over a power window glitch that presented a fire risk, the latest in a string of such moves by the Japanese auto giant.
In recent months, Toyota has recalled nearly 10 million vehicles with defective air bags that have been linked to several deaths. In this new problem, a driver’s side power window master switch could short circuit and cause parts to overheat and melt, Toyota said in an email.
“A melting switch may produce smoking and, potentially, lead to a fire,” the company added.
The recalled models include the Yaris, Corolla, Camry and RAV4 sport utility vehicle produced between 2005 and 2010. About 2.7 million affected vehicles were sold in North America and 1.2 million in Europe.
The company said it had not received reports of accidents tied to the defect, but one customer might have suffered a burn on their hand due to the problem.
Toyota has been working to regain its reputation for safety after the recall of millions of cars globally for various problems, including the airbag issues at embattled supplier Takata.
Tokyo-based Takata has been under fire over the crisis, as it faces lawsuits and regulatory probes into accusations that it knew about the problem and concealed the dangers. Its defective airbags have been blamed for eight deaths and scores of injuries around the world, leading to the biggest recall in U.S. history.
The defect — thought to be associated with a chemical propellant that helps inflate the airbags — can cause them to deploy with explosive force, sending metal shrapnel hurtling toward drivers and passengers. Apart from Toyota, the crisis has affected 10 other rivals including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, and Subaru.
Last year, Toyota said it would pay $1.2 billion to settle U.S. criminal charges that it lied to safety regulators and the public as it tried to cover-up deadly accelerator defects that might be linked to dozens of deaths.
The Japanese giant recalled 12 million vehicles worldwide in 2009 and 2010 owing to defects that caused vehicles to speed out of control and fail to respond to the brake. The recall cost Toyota around $2.4 billion.
Toyota eventually determined that the problem was probably caused by floor mats that could trap the accelerator, but the U.S. settlement agreement said the carmaker continued to lie to the public, safety regulators and even a U.S. congressional hearing about when the problem was discovered.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015