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Business

Toyota recalls millions of cars worldwide, again

Japanese carmaker Toyota has announced it will recall millions of its vehicles because of a fire risk in some of its brands. Experts view this as another blow to the company's once stellar reputation for safety.

Japan's biggest auto maker, Toyota, said on Wednesday it would have to recall a total of 7.43 million cars worldwide. The company argues the move had become unavoidable because of a fire risk caused by a power-window defect in a number of its models, including the popular Camry and Corolla.

"The driver's side power window master switch may experience a sticky feeling during operation," Toyota said in a statement. "If commercially available lubricants are applied to the switch in an attempt to address the problem, melting of the switch assembly or smoke could lead to a fire under some circumstances."

The carmaker reported about 2.5 million vehicles would be recalled from the US and another 2.8 million units from Europe and China, with the remainder of affected cars spread over the rest of the world. Toyota added that 136,000 cars would be recalled from Germany, including Yaris, Auris and RAV4 vehicles.

Tainted reputation

The current recall adds to a string of similar actions addressing safety issues in the company. It comes just two months after Toyota expanded its 2009 recall of 12 million cars worldwide which had been triggered after floor mats became trapped under the accelerator and were linked to serious accidents.

Toyota's initial slow approach to the issue had led to a US congressional inquiry and more than $50 million (38.88 million euros) in fines from regulators.

Despite continuing safety problems, the Japanese firm managed to regain its position as the world's number-one carmaker in the first half of 2012, thus toppling US giant General Motors from the top slot.

hg/mz (AFP, dpa)