Toyota Canada, which has spent months trying to recover from high profile recalls, issued another notice to customers on Thursday so the company can fix engine control modules on about 200,000 of its most popular models to prevent stalling or harsh shifting.
The automaker announced a voluntary recall of 136,000 Corolla compacts and 64,300 Matrix cross-over vehicles from the 2005-2008 models years to address the possible problems here. Its U.S. cousin is sending notices to owners of another 1.1 million vehicles in the U.S. to deal with the same problems.
Toyota has now recalled almost w700,000 vehicles in 16 recalls in Canada since November. They range from problems with accelerator pedals to brakes, steering and electronic stability control systems. The company has also launched a floor mat safety improvement campaign for about 450,000 vehicles.
Analysts say the continuing negative publicity over the recalls and questions about the companyâ€™s longstanding reputation for quality and durability is a key reason why sales have slipped here this year while most rivals are recovering the recession.
Sales of Toyota models have declined 7.7 per cent in the first seven months of the year from the same 2009 period while business for its Lexus luxury brand has dipped 2.4 per cent.
The company built many of the Corolla vehicles in Cambridge and all of the Matrix models in Woodstock. It installed different modules for new versions of the vehicles starting in 2009.
Toyota spokesperson Sandy Di Felice said the company is not aware of any accidents or injuries in Canada because of possible malfunctioning of the modules.
â€œToyota is committed to responding to the needs of our customers quickly and efficiently as well as ensuring that they are completely confident in the safety and reliability of their vehicles,â€ she said.
The company will replace the modules at no cost to customers, she noted.
In a statement, Toyota said the modules may have been improperly manufactured and a crack may develop at certain solder points or on the electronic part used to protect circuits against excessive voltage on the componentâ€™s circuit board.
Toyota added that in most cases when a crack occurs, the â€œcheck engineâ€ light may light up and â€œharsh shiftingâ€ may result or the engine may not start.
â€œIn a small number of cases, should cracking occur on particular solder points, the engine could stop while the vehicle is being driven,â€ the company noted.