The recalls affect 525,898 Vitz, Belta and Ractis cars in Japan, built from January 2005 to April 2008. Additionally, Toyota said it will recall a combined 830,000 units of the Vitz subcompact and Belta, which in certain markets, including the United States, is called the Yaris.
The Yaris has actually had very good sales in a time of higher gasoline prices, as it has very good gas mileage. Additionally, the two seat model has a sort of sporty, cute-ish appeal to many.
The Toyota recall is necessary to fix a defect in the seatbelt, a component in the exhaust system or both. In Japan, one case of fire was reported due to a faulty seatbelt design, which could cause a noise-absorber device to melt when the seatbelt tensioner is activated in a collision.
Additionally, the other possible recalled item is a defective exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) pipe which could crack and cause exhaust gases to leak.
Toyota declined to disclose the estimated cost of the recalls. However, one can only assume this comes at the worst possible time for the company, which despite overtaking GM in global sales, said earlier that its global sales for 2008 had slipped 4 percent to 8.97 million vehicles as it battled a slowdown due to the recession.