Toyota Recalling 7.4 Million Cars Over Fire Risk

Toyota has announced a recall of more than 7.4 million cars for a fire risk in the latest blow that will likely dent the Japanese car maker’s reputation.

The recall is voluntary and is the biggest recall in 16 years since Ford recalled eight million cars over a defective ignition switch that could have caused engine fires, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Toyota has been working since 2008 to restore its reputation, a goal that has been hindered by a series of recalls in 2009 to 2011, which involved more than 10 million of its vehicles having unintended acceleration issues.

The company finally regained its status as the world’s best automaker this year and is expected to sell 9.76 million cars and light trucks globally in 2012 including under the Daihatsu and Hino brands.

The Toyota recall affects 7.43 million vehicles, is intended to fix a problem with the driver’s side power window switch, and affects cars mostly in the United States, China, and Europe. The recalled cars are Yaris and Corolla cars, and th problem will take just 40 minutes to fix. Toyota spokeswoman Monika Saito stated:

“The process to repair [the power window switch] is not an extensive one.”

USA Today reports that the entire recall will affect more than a dozen models worldwide, which were produced between 2005 and 2010. The driver’s side power window switch in these vehicles didn’t have grease applied correctly during production, an issue that can cause friction and smoke.

The recall could be tricky for Toyota because some of the models involved were also involved in the 2009-2011 recall involving unintended acceleration problems. The list of recalled models can be seen at USA Today, and owners will get an official notification of the recall later this month.

While Toyota has not said how much the recall will cost, Koichi Sugimoto, the senior analyst at BNP Paribas Securities in Tokyo, believes that such a massive recall could cause the Japanese automaker more than $128 billion.