© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The 2023 Toyota bZ4X all-electric SUV is displayed during the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 17, 2021.Reuters/Mike Black
TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota The automotive (NYSE: ) company said Thursday that it will recall 2,700 of its first production electric vehicles (EVs) for the global market due to the risk of loose wheels.
The world’s largest automaker by sales has filed a recall application for the bZ4X SUV with Japan’s Ministry of Transportation. Of the 2,700 vehicles, 2,200 are dedicated to Europe, 260 are dedicated to the US, 10 are dedicated to Canada and 110 are dedicated to Japan, the company said.
Subaru (OTC: ) Corp also said Thursday that it is recalling about 2,600 Solterra, its first all-electric vehicle jointly developed with Toyota, for the same reason.
Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and sudden braking could cause hub bolts to loosen, increasing the risk of wheels falling off. It said it was not aware that the flaw would cause any accidents.
The regulator is advising drivers to stop using their vehicles until more “permanent” repairs are taken.
A spokesman for the automaker said all the recalled cars in Japan had not been delivered to customers because they were used for test drives and demonstrations.
“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you,” Toyota said on its website. “We will fix it as soon as possible, but we are investigating the details.”
A Toyota spokesman said not all models were recalled, but declined to say how many were produced in total.
For Subaru, most of the vehicles are for dealers, and none are delivered to customers in the U.S., a Subaru spokesman said.
The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, which is relatively late to the EV market, introduced the electric SUV bZ4X to the domestic market, albeit as a lease-only option.
Toyota’s leasing unit KINTO canceled a planned promotional test drive event in three Japanese cities to take safety measures.
Some investors and environmental groups have criticized Toyota for not moving quickly to phase out gasoline-powered cars in favor of electric ones.
The company has repeatedly countered criticism, arguing that it is necessary to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.
Petrol-electric hybrids remain far more popular in Toyota’s home market than electric vehicles, which accounted for just 1 percent of Japanese passenger car sales last year, according to industry data.
Still, the market is growing rapidly, and foreign automakers including Tesla (NASDAQ: ) Inc are making visible inroads on the streets of cities like Tokyo.
(This story corrects the number of vehicles recalled in Canada to 10, not 20, in the second paragraph, after Toyota corrected the number).