After three months of delays, Toyota says it will restart production on its first electric vehicle, the bZ4X, on Thursday after fixing potential safety problems that led to a recall of 2,700 units in June. The recall followed Toyota’s discovery that there was a risk that the car’s wheels could come loose.
The original recall notice submitted to Japan’s transport ministry said that sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, increasing the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle.
Subaru also had to recall units of its jointly developed Solterra model. Toyota owns a fifth of Subaru. In a subsequent filing to the ministry, Toyota said it would ensure hub bolts were replaced and tightened correctly in new versions of the bZ4X.
The company added that it had identified and fixed a potential problem with the vehicle’s airbags, saying some airbags had been improperly installed and were at risk of failing or cause injury because of the placement of a strap inside the assembly. Toyota’s chief technology officer, Masahiko Maeda, said the automaker only became aware of the airbag issue in the last month or two.
“We apologize again for the concern, anxiety, and inconvenience we have caused to our customers, our dealers, and our stakeholders,” Maeda said.
The Toyota bZ4X is available for lease only in Japan, and Maeda said that service would resume on October 26. He did not give a specific date for US sales to start back up. Only 232 units of the crossover have been sold this year in the United States.
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