When you sell a lot of cars, you recall a lot of cars. Today, Toyota is demonstrating that: it is recalling 7.4 million cars around the world with 2.5 million cars in America, encompassing a wide range of its lineup from the Yaris to the RAV4 to the Highlander—and yes, the vaunted Camry and Corolla.
The official breakdown from Toyota’s North American operations, with approximate figures, is as follows:
• 2007 to 2008 Yaris (110,300)
• 2007 to 2009 RAV4 (336,400)
• 2007 to 2009 Tundra (337,100)
• 2007 to 2009 Camry (938,100)
• 2007 to 2009 Camry Hybrid (116,800)
• 2008 to 2009 Scion xD (34,400)
• 2008 to 2009 Scion xB (77,500)
• 2008 to 2009 Sequoia (38,500)
• 2008 Highlander (135,400)
• 2008 Highlander Hybrid (23,200)
• 2009 Corolla (270,900)
• 2009 Matrix (53,800)
That’s almost a million Camrys and over a quarter-million RAV4s and Tundras, the logistics which will be dramatic.
Why so many cars? The recall relates to a very common part shared with the lot of them: the driver’s power window switch, which is automatic, might stick or feel notchy, a symptom of improper greasing. Consumers might buy a can of WD-40 and squirt some in to get it working again. Problem is, doing so will deteriorate the grease that’s already in there. Coupled with the repetitive notion of moving up and down, the friction generated could, as Toyota states, melt the switch and cause a fire.
Sounds silly? Perhaps, and Toyota has not announced any incidents or crashes relating to the problem. Still, the commonly shared part is to blame for the massive recall, and owners who were looking to replace their sticky window switches anyway can now do so for free.
Toyota will mail owners notification letters at the end of this month. It estimates that dealers will take just an hour to replace the switch for the princely sum of nothing to the owner—who can always call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331. Whether owners will respond to the recall is a different story, but the threat of fire always gets the feet shuffling.