Friday, July 12, 2024

Toyota resumes production of bZ4X electric crossover after recalls

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Toyota Motor Corp said it would restart production of its first electric vehicle, the bZ4X, on Thursday, October 6, 2022, after fixing a potential safety issue that had halted sales of the new battery-powered model for more than three months.

Japan’s largest automaker recalled 2,700 bZ4X globally in June after discovering that there was a risk the car’s wheels could fall off.

Subaru, the fifth company owned by Toyota, will also have to recall the Solterra model unit (the bZ4X twin) which was developed with Toyota.

A recall notice submitted to Japan’s transport ministry by Toyota in June said that sharp turns and sudden braking could cause the hub bolts to loosen, increasing the risk of the wheels falling off the vehicle.

Toyota on Thursday said that in a filing with the ministry it would ensure the hub bolts are replaced and properly tightened in the latest bZ4X version.

In addition, Toyota also said it had identified and fixed potential airbag problems in the car. Some airbags are installed incorrectly at the factory and there is a risk of failure or injury due to improper placement of the straps in the airbag assembly.

Toyota has faced criticism from environmental groups and investors who want the company to move faster to adopt battery electric vehicles. Toyota has refused, saying it needs to offer a choice of cars to suit different markets and customers.

Hybrid cars like the Prius remain much more popular in Toyota’s home market. According to industry data quoted by Reuters on Thursday, pure battery electric vehicles only accounted for 1 percent of passenger cars sold in Japan last year.

The bZ4X crossover, built as Toyota’s answer to the Tesla Model Y and Volkswagen ID.4, has only sold 232 units this year in the United States, Toyota said this week.

Last year, Japanese automakers committed about US$30 billion to develop battery electric vehicles. The company expects annual sales of such cars to reach only 3.5 million vehicles by the end of the decade, about a third of the current annual sales of gasoline-powered cars.

Up Close with Toyota bZ4X : Specifications, Range and price

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