In a significant move, Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), the Indian arm of Japanese car maker Toyota, has recalled nearly 8,700 units of its premium segment Corolla Altis and Camry cars in India, a company executive said Saturday.
The decision to recall the cars was taken to avert a glitch in the power window master switch (PWMS) in these cars.
Globally, Toyota is recalling 7.4 million vehicles to address the problem, making it among the biggest recall of vehicles after Ford called back 7.9 million vehicles back in 1996.
The recall in India is restricted to 6,800 units of the Corolla Altis cars sold between July 30, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2008 and 1,900 Camrys sold between Sept. 1, 2006 to July 31, 2008, the company said.
The Camry was imported through these model years though the Corolla Altis was being assembled locally. So far, Toyota has sold 83,427 units of the Corolla Altis and about 6,700 units of the Camry, which it started assembling locally in August.
Toyota said the power window switch on the driver's side may experience a "notchy" or sticky feel during operation and that the application of commercially available lubricants may potentially melt the switch assembly or smoke could occur and lead to a fire under some circumstances.
The company said the recall remedy would involve an inspection and application of special fluorine grease, which could be carried out in one hour and at no charge to the owner.
Toyota said the recall was not a safety hazard, but a precautionary measure, voluntarily carried out by the company.
"This can be due to wear and tear over-time, of specific contact points in the PWMS. The Recall Campaign will be conducted from November onwards, across all authorized Toyota dealers in India," said a company executive adding that it would also notify the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) as part of the voluntary code on vehicle recall even though the recall did not fall within the purview of any safety hazards.
While recalls, especially in the entry level segment, could potentially impact a brand, the response may likely be muted considering the customer segment in which the Camry and Corolla sell, said V G Ramakrishnan, Vice President, Automotive and Transportation practice, Frost & Sullivan.
"We have not received any complaints. In many cases we will be only inspecting the car," said Sandeep Singh. "We are doing this as we feel we should be upfront and transparent."