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Auto blogThu, 22 May 2014 15:44:00 EST
The year of the recall continues, but this time it isn't from General Motors. Toyota is announcing two, separate recalls affecting a pair of its models.
First, Toyota is recalling 370,000 Sienna minivans from the 2004 to 2011 model years that are registered or originally sold in cold-weather states. The problem is that the spare tire carrier assembly cable can be splashed by water contaminated with road salt and cause corrosion. There is a splashguard in place to prevent this, but it sometimes gets lost in "normal usage," according to the company. If the cable does break, then "the spare tire may separate from the vehicle."
This is actually the second repair for this problem for some of these vehicles. In 2010, Toyota issued a recall on 600,000 Siennas from the 1998 to 2010 model years. At the time, it installed a new splashguard and sprayed the area with an anti-rust chemical. However, according to Toyota spokesperson John Hanson speaking to Autoblog, the campaign worked for the 1998 to 2003 models but wasn't sufficient for the newer ones. For the latest recall, the vehicles are getting the entire cable replaced with a stainless steel unit and a new splashguard.
It appears that Toyota's renotification to owners of recalled vehicles from last year is just the tip of the iceberg for what could potentially be a much larger industry-wide recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening a preliminary evaluation investigation into roughly 1.1 million vehicles from Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and parts supplier Takata regarding faulty airbag inflators in several models.
NHTSA has received six reports - three directly, two from Takata and one from Toyota - of vehicles with ruptured airbag inflators from 2002-2006, which resulted in three injuries. So far, all six incidents have occurred in high humidity areas like Florida and Puerto Rico. According to Toyota's latest recall announcement, the inflators may have an improper propellant that could cause it to rupture in a crash and the bag to deploy abnormally.
This new investigation follows a previous recall from April 2013 of about 3.4 million vehicles worldwide for the airbag inflators from Takata. As Autoblog reported, Toyota jumpstarted the new situation when it found that the original list of serial numbers for the faulty part was incomplete and discovered more cars in need of replacement. Honda and Nissan told us that they were investigating whether further models would need called in again as well. Mazda told Autoblog: "Regarding the current Takata situation, we're working closely with NHTSA and investigating the situation, but nothing else to report at this time." Chrysler Group responded to us with the statement: "Chrysler Group engineers are conducting the appropriate analysis. The Company will cooperate fully with the National Highway Traffic Administration."
It's been two years since Toyota first revealed its Camatte show car at the Tokyo Toy Show. Though sadly never destined for production, Toyota brought the concept back the following year as the Camatte 57s roadster, and is now returning to the same show with yet another take on the kid-friendly, configurable 1+2 with interchangeable body panels - this time with a slew of features that are fresh not only to the concept itself, but to the industry altogether.
This year the Camatte is being showcased in two forms: a bare chassis in the Tech Lab that lets kids see the inner workings of a modern automobile, and another in the Design Lab that lets kids draw their own motif for the concept that is then displayed on an LED hood.
The overall approach reminds us of the way Toyota's budget brand Daihatsu unveiled the Kopen roadster concept at the Tokyo Motor Show late last year, only even more kid-focused and decidedly more light-hearted than you might otherwise expect from one of the largest industrial giants in the world, and could only have been made for a toy exposition. In Japan. Which would explain the ridiculously upbeat videos below, where you'll also find the brief press release.