Talk about a year getting off to a bad start. For Toyota, 2014 can't get much worse. On the heels of a record $1.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department for knowingly hiding defects in its vehicles, the Japanese car maker is now recalling some 6.4 million vehicles for things ranging from engine starter issues to potentially far more dangerous problems like seat rail springs and steering defects.
The recalls cover faults in 27 different types of vehicles. They have been found in some of Toyota's most popular and best-selling vehicles including Corolla, RAV4, Matrix, Yaris, Highlander, and Tacoma. Some of the vehciles were recalled for more than one problem and the production timeframe of the models affected runs from April 2004 through August 2009
Unlike the manufacturer's problems that included the death of a family of four back in 2009 due to sudden acceleration issues in the Lexus, Toyota says, "No reports worldwide of any incidents, injuries or fatalities have been linked to these issues."
In the 2009 incident the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claims it was deceived by Toyota since the company did not disclose there were other vehicles with similar design features making them prone to the same sudden acceleration problems that caused the fatal accident.
In breaking down the recalls by region, North America will see the most recalls, totaling 2.3 million, followed by Japan with 1.9 million. Some 810,000 have been issued in Europe. Africa, South America and the Middle East round out the other regions affected by the recalls.
As the company's reputation for quality control takes yet another hit, this latest problem will surely have Toyota executives scrambling for both answers and solutions in the weeks and months ahead.
The only statement thus far from Toyota on the matter involves the fact they will be alerting customers in the coming weeks to make an appointment for the free repairs. Owner's of Toyota vehicles can check to see if their car is affected by the recalls by plugging the car's registration number into a search function on the Toyota website.