UAE dealer examines Toyota recall

Al Futtaim, the Emirate's distributor for Toyota, tries to determine if a major overseas safety recall of 2.3 million vehicles will involve local imports.

ABU DHABI // The distributor of some of the country's most popular cars was yesterday trying to determine if Toyota's major overseas safety recall would involve local vehicles. Accelerators pedals on some Toyota models are malfunctioning, prompting a recall of 2.3 million vehicles and a temporary halt of sales and manufacturing in plants and car showrooms across North America. The faulty part can cause a car to accelerate out of control and, according to reports, has been linked to accidents involving 19 deaths in the past decade. Currently, Toyota accounts for about a third of the market for local cars. Sales in the US have been stopped on 2009 and 2010 RAV4, 2009 and 2010 Corollas, 2009 and 2010 Matrix, 2005 to 2010 Avalon, 2010 Highlander, 2007 to 2010 Tundra and 2008 to 2010 Sequoia.

Simon Frith, the managing director of Al Futtaim motors, which imports Toyotas to the UAE, said the company was still trying to determine whether the faulty parts had been installed in any of its local imports. Parts and cars sold outside North America are manufactured in different locations, to different specifications, and are often even sold under different model names. "If it becomes apparent that any vehicles in the UAE are affected by this, this safety campaign, we will take the appropriate action," he said. Hajime Sakaguchi, the general manager for Toyota's Middle East and Southwest Asia Sales and Marketing division, confirmed the issue was under investigation. "I hope an answer for these question will become evident as soon as possible," he said.

Although he did not know how many Toyotas were on roads in the UAE, last year 433,000 cars were sold across all six GCC states. Of those, 12,000 were manufactured in the US, where the faulty parts have led to the recall. Toyota's safety recall is being deemed one of the largest in history, with six plants are being told to stop production. Only months ago, Toyota recalled 4.2 million cars after they said floor mats could become stuck under the accelerators. However, with the latest recall, the company has now said there are additional problems with the accelerator pedals' mechanics. Last week, Toyota sent a letter to federal officials in the US that said condensation on the surfaces in the accelerator system could be responsible for the problem.