Around 138,000 British Toyota owners affected as car manufacturer announces biggest recall for 16 years over window fault

  • Company recalls 7.43million cars worldwide over electric window switches
  • The buttons could start emitting smoke, spokesman warns
  • Models affected include Yaris, Corolla, Matrix, Auris, Camry and RAV4
  • Single-biggest recall since Ford had to replace ignition switches in 1996
  • Comes as Toyota tries to rebuild trust after series of recalls since 2009

Japan's Toyota Motor Corp announced a massive recall today to fix malfunctioning power window switches which it says will affect 7.43million vehicles worldwide in the biggest single recall since 1996.

The move comes as Japan's biggest automaker tries to rebuild trust after a series of recalls between 2009 and 2011 in which it pulled back around 10 million vehicles and as it struggles with plummeting Chinese sales as a result of a Sino-Japanese territorial dispute.
The recall will include 2.47million vehicles in the United States as well as 1.40million vehicles in China and 1.39million vehicles in Europe - 138,000 of which are in the UK.

PR nightmare: Former president of Toyota Motor Corp, Katsuaki Watanabe, pictured in 2006 unveiling a new Corolla, one of the models affected by today's recall of more than 7.4million cars worldwide

Damage limitation: The recall will include some models of the Yaris (above) because of malfunctioning power window switches

Toyota's main rivals in the U.S. include Ford and General Motors Co, while in China they include Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, and in Europe Hyundai and Nissan.
The recall will include some Yaris and Corolla models on which the power window switches can be repaired in about 40 minutes, the company said.
'The process to repair (the power window switch) is not an extensive one,' spokeswoman Monika Saito said, adding that it would involve putting heat-resistant lubricant on the switches or exchanging them.
Toyota declined to disclose how much the recall would cost or how it might affect its earnings.

Production glitch: Models of the Toyota Camry are lined up in the company's factory in Georgetown, Kentucky in 2006. The Camry is also among the vehicles affected

Massive headache: In Japan, Toyota is recalling about 459,300 vehicles, including the Vitz, produced between 2006 and 2008. This picture shows former chairman Shoichiro Toyoda (right) and ex-president Hiroshi Okuda with an older model in 1999

In Japan, Toyota is recalling about 459,300 vehicles, including the Vitz, produced between 2006 and 2008.
The firm is also recalling 650,000 vehicles in Australia and Asia, 490,000 vehicles in the Near and Middle East, 240,000 vehicles in Canada and 330,000 vehicles elsewhere, said Shino Yamada, another spokeswoman for Toyota.
The vehicles recalled outside Japan include certain models of the Yaris, Vios, Corolla, Matrix, Auris, Camry, RAV4, Highlander, Tundra, Sequoia, xB and xD produced between 2005 and 2010.
The first time the problem was reported was in September 2008 in the United States, Saito said.

Could emit smoke: Engineers make final checks to vehicles at a plant in Ohira village, northern Japan. The company says it should only take 40 minutes to fix the error with the window switches

No accidents, injuries or deaths have been reported as a result of the problem, though there is a possibility that the malfunctioning switches could emit smoke, she said.
The move comes a day after Toyota reported that its sales fell 48.9 percent year-on-year in China in September.

Japanese car brands have suffered as a result of an outbreak of anti-Japan sentiment in China in response to a territorial dispute between the two countries.
In 1996, Ford pulled back 8million vehicles to replace defective ignition switches that could have caused engine fires.
Shares in Toyota ended down 1.90 per cent, while the broader Nikkei index fell 1.98 per cent.