An accident in Canada that killed two passengers in a 2011 Toyota RAV4 has led to a worldwide recall of about 2.9 million Toyota Motor Corp. RAV4 crossovers, many of them built in Canada.
The recall was sparked after Transport Canada replicated the crash of the 2011 RAV4. The people in the front seats of the crossover survived; the passengers in the rear seat did not.
Toyota recalling 2.9 million vehicles (Reuters)
“During the test, both rear seatbelts severed and both crash dummies sustained potentially deadly injuries,” Transport Canada said.
The department would not say when or where the crash occurred, citing privacy reasons.
During a severe frontal crash, the rear seatbelts may be cut when they come into contact with the steel structure of the seat, Transport Canada said.
The recall applies to 2.87 million vehicles globally, including 148,966 in Canada, where the RAV4 was the second-best-selling vehicle for Toyota Canada Inc. in 2015. It’s also the second-best-selling Toyota vehicle in the U.S. market.
The Canadian recall covers the 2006 to 2012 model years.
“This is more than just a case of Transport Canada finding a safety problem and doing a thorough investigation,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said in a statement. “These findings have a real-world impact – and it’s measured in human life.”
The Transport Canada test used dummies similar in weight to the passengers and conducted it at a speed and angle that aligned with the actual crash.
The vast majority of the RAV4s sold in the United States and Canada are built at a Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. assembly plant in Woodstock, Ont. The RAV4 is expected to be the No. 1 seller in both countries by the end of the decade amid surging sales of compact crossover vehicles.
Toyota is so convinced that the segment will continue to grow that it will begin assembling RAV4s at its Cambridge, Ont., plant in 2019 when Corolla production is shifted to Mexico.
Toyota said it could not confirm whether the seatbelt failure had caused the fatalities, but is recalling the vehicles as a precaution.
The recall also covers vehicles that were sold in China, Japan, Europe and other regions. The vehicles were produced between 2005 and 2014 in all markets except Japan, where the recall affects models as recent as 2016.
The seatbelts themselves are safe and the problem was not caused by a supplier, Toyota said. That is in contrast to another recent problem involving auto safety devices, the extensive recall of vehicles equipped with defective airbags produced by the Japanese manufacturer Takata Corp.
Dealers will fix the problem in the RAV4s by adding resin covers to the metal seat-cushion frames, the auto maker said. That will take 30 minutes to 60 minutes per vehicle.
“The condition does not occur in other vehicles, because the shape of the metal seat-cushion frame is different,” Toyota added.