OSAKA:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp. is re­call­ing about 2.87 mil­lion sport util­ity ve­hi­cles (SUVs) world­wide af­ter rear seat belts sep­a­rated in one fa­tal ac­ci­dent in Canada and dur­ing a crash that in­jured a pas­sen­ger in the US. The auto maker has been un­able to con­firm if the fa­tal­ity or in­jury are con­nected with the de­fect prompt­ing its re­call of RAV4, RAV4 EV and Van­guard SUV mod­els, spokes­woman Kayo Doi said in an e-mail. Rear seat belts in the ve­hi­cles could be cut by metal seat-cush­ion frames in se­vere front crashes and fail to re­strain pas­sen­gers, she said. The seat belt is­sue poses risk to the RAV4's im­age as the model be­comes one of Toy­ota's most sig­nif­i­cant in the US mar­ket. The SUV may sur­pass Camry, the in­dus­try's top-sell­ing car in the US for the last 14 years, and be­come Toy­ota's big­gest seller within the next five years, se­nior vice pres­i­dent Bob Carter said in De­cem­ber. The re­call also tacks on to what is al­ready one of Toy­ota's big­gest ever re­pair cam­paigns in­volv­ing safety devices. Toy­ota is among 14 man­u­fac­tur­ers call­ing back about 24 mil­lion ve­hi­cles to re­place Takata Corp. in­fla­tors that have rup­tured and led to the largest US auto-safety re­call. Older RAV4 mod­els also are in­cluded in the Takata air bag re­call. Toy­ota is ini­ti­at­ing its lat­est re­call af­ter Canada's reg­u­la­tor re­ported in Oc­to­ber that seat belts had been dam­aged dur­ing crash-test re­search, Doi said. The re­call is due to Toy­ota's ve­hi­cle de­sign and not its sup­pli­ers, she said. Deal­ers will in­stall resin cov­ers for rear metal seat frames at no cost to cus­tomers. The re­call in­cludes about 1.33 mil­lion ve­hi­cles in North Amer­ica, 625,000 in Europe and 434,000 in China, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

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