The problem concerns the seatbelt pretensioner in the Yaris, a car safety feature that pulls the seatbelt tight in the event of an accident to help reduce whiplash and other injuries.
It has been discovered that upon activation this can heat up, potentially igniting a foam insulating pad and causing a fire.
The recall concerns all Toyota Yaris model variations built between 2006 and 2007.
Letter to owners
There have been three recorded instances of the problem, all in Japan. There are no reported occurrences in Europe, and the fault is not believed to have caused any casualties.
Which? has spoken to a Toyota spokeman, and confirmed the carmaker is locating owners of the vehicles in question with the help of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). Letters will be sent out, requesting they contact their nearest Toyota dealer.
Which? was also told the problem should take about ‘one hour’ to put right. Toyota is considering, though has not yet confirmed, some kind of customer care package by way of compensation.
The Toyota Yaris has a five-star rating for adult occupant protection from Euro NCAP, and is nominally one of the safest cars in its class. Toyota’s dealer service is also amongst the best in the industry, so it is likely the fault will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.
The total number of 1.3million cars places this Yaris recall amongst the largest in Toyota’s history; in 2005 1.4million Toyotas were recalled due to problematic headlight switches.