Toyota fixing leaky hoses in over 1.6 mn vehicles

March 2nd, 2010 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Tokyo, March 2 (DPA) Toyota Motor Corp said Tuesday it is repairing more than 1.6 million vehicles around the world, including the Camry sold in the US and the sport utility vehicle Harrier in Japan, to fix oil hoses.
The repairs are the latest in a series of quality problems with which the world’s largest carmaker has been struggling.

Toyota said the so-called “service campaign” to replace the oil hoses would affect about 1.6 million vehicles in about 90 countries and regions worldwide, Kyodo News Agency reported.

Toyota started the repairs last autumn but did not make an announcement because they were not technically considered a recall, company officials told Japanese media.

Toyota acknowledged the repair programme after US media reported Monday about possible leakage of engine oil caused by hose ruptures.

The problem should not be seen as a defect because drivers would be alerted by an oil warning light if leakages occurred, Toyota said, adding that it had notified owners of the affected vehicles.

But Toyota’s decision not to disclose the step earlier could incite further suspicion and anger among consumers overseas, and the manufacturer’s top executives might face criticism again from US lawmakers at a congressional committee hearing Tuesday.

Shinichi Sasaki and Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s executive vice presidents, were scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

They were called after 8.5 million Toyota cars were recalled over problems with accelerator pedals, floor mats and brakes, putting a dent into the firm’s reputation for producing quality vehicles.

Toyota said a sulphur element in engine oil could degrade the rubber portion of an oil supply hose and cause an oil leak, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reported.

In the US, Toyota is reparing 933,800 vehicles, all equipped with V6 engines. Some Camry, Avalon RAV4, Lexus ES and Lexus RS cars produced from 2005 to 2010 are subject to the replacement.

In Japan, Toyota is fixing a total of 47,000 units of such models as the Harrier and Vanguard.

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