Toyota recalls 130,000 Yaris cars

January 28, 2009 9:34:23 AM PST
Toyota said Wednesday it will recall almost 1.3 million vehicles worldwide due to a defect that could cause a foam pad near the seat belt to ignite during collisions. The Japanese automaker said the recall includes 134,900 model-year 2006 and 2007 Yaris subcompacts that were sold in the U.S. Toyota Motor Sales USA said it is working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall the vehicles.

Toyota spokesman Brian R. Lyons said in "severe front-end collisions," the mechanism that tightens the vehicle's seat belt expels a gas that could cause a sound-insulating foam pad nearby to ignite. In a worst-case scenario, the problem could cause a fire, he said.

However, Lyons said no cases of either have been reported where this actually happened in the U.S., and no other vehicles are affected.

The recall affects about 1.28 million vehicles worldwide that are based on Toyota's Yaris platform. Elsewhere, the car is sold as the Vitz and the Ractis. Lyons could not comment on whether problems related to defect have been reported outside the U.S.

Toyota Motor Sales USA will mail letters to consumers who own the affected cars next week, Lyons said. Toyota will pay the cost of the repair, which should take an hour at a Toyota dealer, he said.

U.S.-traded shares of Toyota rose $1.53, or 2.3 percent, to $67.83. Shares of Toyota are flat since the start of the year. The automaker, along with the rest of the industry, reports U.S. sales on Tuesday.

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