Toyota Motor Corp. has decided to recall its first 2,700 mass-produced bZ4X because of the risk of tire slipping.
The world’s largest automaker has submitted a recall of the bZ4X SUV to the Japanese transport ministry. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 were destined for Europe, 260 for the United States, 20 for Canada and 110 for Japan.
Japan’s safety regulator says sharp turns and sudden braking can cause the hub bolts to loosen, increasing the risk of the wheels slipping out of the vehicle. The regulator said it was not aware of any accidents caused by the defect.
The safety regulator said it was advising drivers to stop using the vehicle until more “permanent” corrective action is taken.
The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relatively late entry into the EV market, launched its electric SUV, the bZ4X, into the domestic market, albeit as a rental-only option.
Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental organizations for not acting fast enough to phase out gasoline-powered cars and embrace EVs instead.
Toyota has repeatedly rejected the criticism, citing the need to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.
Toyota’s gasoline-electric hybrid models remain far more popular in the home market than EVs, which accounted for just 1% of passenger cars sold in Japan last year, according to industry data.
However, the market is growing fast and foreign automakers including Tesla Inc are making visible inroads on the streets of cities like Tokyo.