Toyota to recall millions of cars to fix fire hazard

power window switch is faulty

Los Angeles TimesOctober 11, 2012 

061012HYBRIDapa

Toyota Camry Hybrid vehicles were on the assembly line at the factory in Georgetown in October 2006. The 2007-2009 Camry Hybrid models were included in the recall announced Wednesday.

PABLO ALCALA

LOS ANGELES — Toyota will recall 2.5 million vehicles sold in the United States to fix a faulty power window switch linked to several hundred reports of smoke and fires and at least nine injuries.

The automaker said it is not aware of any crashes resulting from the problem.

The move by Toyota follows a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration probe into the problem and is part of a global recall of nearly 7.5 million vehicles.

The U.S. recall includes the 2007-2008 Yaris, the 2007-2009 RAV4, the 2007-2009 Tundra, the 2007-2009 Camry, the 2007-2009 Camry Hybrid, the 2008-2009 Scion xD, the 2008-2009 Scion xB, the 2008-2009 Sequoia, the 2008 Highlander, the 2008 Highlander Hybrid, the 2009 Corolla and the 2009 Matrix.

The recall comes at a crucial time for Toyota, which has made large market-share gains in the United States after seeing its position slide because of a series of massive recalls in 2010 that were followed by inventory problems caused by last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

"While the number of recalled vehicles is staggering, it doesn't have the panicked safety concerns like the acceleration issues in 2010," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with auto information company Edmunds.com. "It doesn't seem like it will deal a huge blow to the company's U.S. market share."

In reporting the latest recall, Toyota said the driver's side power window switch on the affected vehicles may experience a sticky feel during operation. Depending on what grease is applied to the switch to reduce the stickiness and how it is applied — including when it was assembled at the factory — the switch could melt, smoke and start a fire.

Toyota plans to disassemble the switches, inspect them and apply a special fluorine grease that it says will solve the problem.

Owners of vehicles covered by this safety recall are to receive a notification letter via mail starting in late October. The repair will take about an hour, depending on the dealer's work schedule.

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