Toyota car recall extends to Middle East

UPDATE 3: Avalon and Sequoia cars subject to recall; Thrifty rental to withdraw models.
By Joanne Bladd and Agencies
Mon 01 Feb 2010 12:39 PM

A massive recall of Toyota Motor Corp vehicles could extend to the Middle East after the carmaker admitted a number of the affected models, 2005-2010 year Avalons and 2009-2010 year Sequoias, had been shipped from the US for sale in the region.

The rapidly widening recall, currently thought to affect more than 4.4 million cars, follows news of a possible fault in which the accelerator can get stuck in a depressed position preventing the driver from slowing down.

In a statement Toyota said the fault – which is thought to be caused by worn accelerator pedal mechanisms – affecting cars in North America, Europe and China was unlikely to occur in the Middle East because of the difference in climate. No further details were given.

A spokesperson for Al Futtaim Motors, distributor for Toyota in the UAE, said the firm was preparing a statement that would outline the extent of the recall.

Owners in Europe and North America have been told they are unlikely to be able to claim a refund for their car. Instead, the vehicle will likely be repaired or replaced free of charge.

Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, the UAE’s largest car rental firm, said it had five Toyota Avalons out on lease as part of its 18,000-strong car fleet.

“We haven’t received notification [from Al Futtaim Group] but we are expecting to hear this afternoon,” said Sam Eltibi, executive director, MENA & Asia Pacific. “I expect the recall to affect a small number of owners, as most of the Toyota cars in this region are made in Australia and Japan. The recall is for US-made cars.”

The car hire firm would be recalling the five cars from lease, he said.

An agent for Fast Car UAE told Arabian Business the firm was unaffected by the recall as it did not lease the models in question.

Emirates Driving Institute, the Middle East’s largest driving school, also said it would be unaffected as the cars are not used by its instructors.

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