Japanese company Toyota has agreed to recall an unspecified number of Corollas manufactured in Brazil because of the risk of sudden acceleration according to a statement from the Brazilian Ministry of Justice website.
The measure applies to vehicles made since April 2008 and although no numbers were mentioned the news media O Globo mentioned that 55.000 Toyota Corollas were sold in Brazil last year.
Earlier last week the state of Minas Gerais, one of the country’s most dynamic and with a strong car manufacturing infrastructure, including Fiat and Mercedes Benz, banned the sale of Corollas arguing they are a safety risk.
An acceleration problem was “putting in danger the lives of occupants” said state officials. It added nine Corollas in the state had shown problems that Toyota said were caused by badly installed floor mats.
Toyota has a long relation with Brazil where it has been operating, assembling and manufacturing vehicles since 1958.
According to the Toyota-Brazil website the company in 2008 broke the annual sales benchmark of 80.000 units, mostly Corollas and in 2009 sales soared 32%. Toyota internationally has recalled more than 8 million vehicles. Accelerator and brake defects have been the main reason for the recalls.
In February, US authorities began an investigation into problems with the Corolla, amid complaints the car could accelerate suddenly. At least 34 deaths in the United States have been blamed on the problem.
More than 30 million Corollas have been sold since the model first rolled out of Toyota’s factories in the 1960s.
Earlier this week Toyota agreed to pay a record fine of US$ 16.4 million in the US for failing to report defects in some of its vehicles’ accelerator pedals.
The Japanese carmaker denied hiding the defects, but again acknowledged that it could have handled the issue better. Some 2.3 million Toyotas were recalled in the US in January amid reports the accelerator pedals could become stuck.
This week Toyota announced it was recalling about 34,000 Lexus GX 460 and Land Cruiser Prado SUVs worldwide.
The company said it would update the vehicles’ stability-control software program to reduce the risk of them sliding sideways when turning sharply at high speeds, partly because the fuel tank and the presence of the driver might make the left side of the vehicle heavier.
The move comes less than a week after the US consumer magazine, Consumer Reports, warned that the Lexus GX 460 was prone to roll-overs, prompting Toyota to recall nearly 10,000 sold in the US and Canada.
Toyota had earlier announced the recall of 600,000 Sienna minivans in the US. It said prolonged exposure to road salt might result in excessive corrosion of the spare-tire cable, and that the tire might fall off the vehicle.
Toyota overtook General Motors in 2008 as the world’s biggest carmaker, but has since blamed its quality control problems on its rapid expansion. Executives from Toyota were fiercely criticized in the US Congress and the company’s once high reputation has been left in tatters.