Japanese car manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has announced the recall of almost three million of its cars worldwide after a potential weakness was discovered concerning the vehicle’s seatbelts.
The recall applies to RAV4 SUV models produced between July 2005 and August 2014.
The recall will affect nearly three million vehicles globally: 1.3 million in the USA, 624,642 in Europe and 918,000 in the rest of the world.
There are 48,616 vehicles affected in the United Kingdom (UK).
Many lovers of the brand in Nigeria have been wondering what their fate would be concerning the recall.
But Toyota (Nigeria) Limited (TNL), the authorised franchised for Toyota brands in Nigeria last Tuesday allayed their fears.
At a briefing, TNL Managing Director Mr Kunle Ade-Ojo announced the recall of 900 units of RAV4 produced between 2006 and 2012 to fix the faulty real seat belts.
Not done yet, TNL also showcased a locally- assembled Hiace from its 30,000-unit yearly capacity production facility located in Ikotun, Lagos.
The assembly plant was part of the company’s move to conform with the automotive policy.
According to Ade-Ojo, the plant’s facility comprises two lines, which are expected to assemble personal and mini buses as well as pickups and light commercial vehicles.
Hiace, he said, was assembled as test sample, adding that the organisation would soon begin mass production, adding: “We need to introduce some changes to the plant so as to achieve efficiency in the operations. With the current economic situation, we are looking at starting mass production in a couple of months.
“We are constantly training technicians and as far as the plant is concerned, we are assuring customers that we would want to continuously improve the assembling process of our vehicles to ensure that the vehicles meet international standards.”
The plant, which occupies a 40, 000 square metre of land, was built to handle assemblage of different models.
He promised competitive price once the mass production begins.
According to him, no automobile company is manufacturing anything in Nigeria, saying “what everybody does is to assemble the parts. The parts are shipped in from overseas.”
Speaking about the recall, Ade-Ojo said it was on the order of the parent company, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), as a proactive safety measure to avert danger to the lives of people occupying the back seats of the vehicle in the event of an accident.
“The issue has to do with the metal frame of the two extreme seats: the one on the right and the one on the left as you open the back seat. In the event of an accident, the seat belt is expected to restrain you from being thrown overboard; but in this case, there is a possibility that the seat belt may get cut and come in contact with the metal frame. This may cause some compromise to the system,” he said.
TNL, he said, had ordered resin protectors from the vehicle manufacturer that would be needed to pad the metal frame and prevent it from constituting any danger.
He also said all the authorised dealers of TNL had been duly briefed about the problem and how to handle it.
The dealers, he noted, had been directed to contact the affected owners of the recalled vehicles, in addition to public notices to inform them about the development.
He said the fixing of the problem would only take about 30 minutes, adding that the special service campaign was at no cost to the car owners.
“It is a simple process, which will neither deface the vehicle nor diminish its beauty in any form,” he explained.
Ade-Ojo also said the service campaign period had no terminal date as he added that “the one we did last year, we are still contacting the customers. Every week, we send the report to the TMC.”
The TNL managing director, however, said priority would be given to those who purchased their vehicles from any of its authorised dealers in the country.
He said the issue ordinarily might appear minor to the people but the firm decided to take the measure despite the cost to the manufacturer because Toyota did not want to take chances.
“The safety of our customers is of paramount importance to us and we don’t compromise on this,” Ade-Ojo added.
$2 million in the flagship facility to cater for what would eventually turn out to be a vehicle brand that will be in high demand by Nigerians.
‘’We intend to continue to develop other facilities across various states to further cement our conviction about the brand and to ensure that our customers will never suffer any disappointing experience whatsoever but in the meantime, our branch locations nationwide will provide needed services to customers who purchase the vehicles outside of Lagos,” he said.
SOURCE: The Nation