Image: Toyota vehicles on display
Koji Sasahara  /  AP
Toyota will recall more than 1.35 million Vitz and two other models globally to fix defects. (The Vitz is known a the Yaris in the United States.)
msnbc.com news services
updated 1/28/2009 8:46:09 AM ET 2009-01-28T13:46:09

Toyota Motor Corp said Wednesday it would recall more than 1.35 million Vitz and two other models globally to fix a defect in the seatbelt, a component in the exhaust system or both.

Subject to the recall in Japan are 525,898 Vitz, Belta and Ractis cars built from January 2005 to April 2008, Toyota said in a filing with the transport ministry.

Toyota also said it will recall a combined 830,000 units of the Vitz subcompact and Belta — called Yaris in many markets, including the United States — exported to Europe, North America and other countries.

One case of fire was reported in Japan due to the faulty seatbelt design, which could cause a noise-absorber device to melt when the seatbelt tensioner is activated in a collision, Toyota said.

No accident was reported in Japan from the defective exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) pipe, which could crack in the worst-case scenario and cause exhaust gases that fail to clear emissions standards to leak.

Toyota declined to disclose the estimated cost of the recalls.

Last week, Toyota overtook General Motors in global vehicle sales for the first time, bringing to an end GM’s 77-year run as the world’s largest automaker.

GM, now struggling to restructure under a $13.4 billion U.S. government bailout, had held the title as the global auto industry leader for over seven decades and used the line in its marketing.

But for 2008, Detroit-based GM said its sales decreased to 8.35 million vehicles, pressured by tightening credit and a slowdown that began in the United States and spread to emerging markets where GM has been stronger.

Earlier in the week, Toyota said its global sales for 2008 had slipped 4 percent to 8.97 million vehicles as it also battled a costly slowdown in key markets.

More on Toyota   |  automotive industry

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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