Toyota Recalls 470,000 Cars in Japan, Shares Drop


Toyota Motor said it would recall about 470,000 cars in Japan including the Crown, Sienta and bB models, on fears of fuel leaks and steering problems, sending the automaker's shares lower.

The recall covers 277,074 Crown and other sedans manufactured between September 1999 and October 2004, 120,406 Sienta, Vitz and other cars made between September 2003 and February 2005 and 74,347 bB vans built between January 2006 and March 2007.

Toyota, the world's largest carmaker, outlined the recall plans in filings with the transport ministry on Wednesday.

The sedans had a faulty pulsation damper and fuel pipe, which could cause gasoline to leak in the worst-case scenario. The Sienta and Vitz models had a defective fuel pump, while the bB had a faulty universal joint that could hinder steering.

No accidents were reported from the three cases, and none of the faulty vehicles were exported, a Toyota spokeswoman said.

The news sent Toyota's shares to their low for the day at 6,220 yen. They recovered to 6,280 yen by the close, down 2%. Other auto stocks also fell on the dollar's drop against the yen.

The recall filing comes a day after a setback for Toyota in the United States, where Consumer Reports said in a closely watched study that it would no longer recommend all new Toyota cars and trucks after two models earned below-average rankings.

Toyota still ranked third in reliability behind only Honda Motor and Fuji Heavy Industries' Subaru.

Toyota has come under intense scrutiny as it trounces its U.S. rivals on their home turf and grows in most major markets.

President Katsuaki Watanabe has vowed to make quality improvements the company's top priority after its vehicle recalls hit record levels and raised concerns that the automaker was stretching itself too thin as it races to meet global demand.

Last year, Toyota overtook General Motors as the world's biggest automaker in terms of sales volume, excluding the U.S. company's minority-held Chinese joint venture.

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