Toyota and Subaru Recalling EVs Over Loose Wheels

toyota and subaru recalling evs over loose wheels

Toyota and Subaru are recalling their new all-electric models, though EV fans will be pleased to know that the issue has nothing to do with the battery packs. Instead, the affected vehicles run the risk of losing their wheels under sudden braking or sharp turns — which I suppose isn’t much of an improvement over the possibility of an electrical fire.

The good news is that the problem is limited almost entirely to demo models of the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra the companies wanted to use for promotional purposes. While they may eventually have found their way into residential garages, the original intent was to have them attend trade events and serve as test models on dealership lots. That’s likely to remain the plan, too. But only after the automakers comply with the demands of Japanese regulators.

While Toyota has said that not every bZ4X produced was impacted by the recall, it also hasn’t confirmed how many have been manufactured thus far. Automotive News shared that Japan had identified 2,700 units (2,200 that were headed for Europe, 260 for the United States, 20 for Canada, and 110 that would have stayed on the home islands) that it felt needed to be fixed. However, it wasn’t the Japanese transportation ministry that initiated the recall. According to reports, Toyota was actually the one that found the problem and notified the authorities.

The company was also highly apologetic in a related press and exceptionally Japanese press release. Toyota said it regretted any inconvenience caused by the situation and said it would repair the vehicles after it had conducted an internal investigation.

Japanese safety regulators believe the issue stems from a loosening hub bolt. If subjected to sharp turns and sudden braking (see: regular driving) the vehicles may lose a wheel in the process. However, the transport ministry said it wasn’t aware of any accidents caused by the defect, which makes sense considering the cars never made it out of the country.

Subaru had 2,600 units of the Solterra (the bZ4X’s sister car) placed under recall for the very same reason.

From Automotive News:

For Subaru, most of the vehicles were for dealers and none were delivered to customers in the U.S., a Subaru spokesperson said.

The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative latecomer to the EV market, rolled out the electric crossover to the domestic market as a lease-only option.

Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental organizations for not acting quickly enough to phase out gasoline-powered cars and embrace EVs instead.

Toyota has repeatedly pushed back against the criticism, arguing the necessity to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.

Hybrid models remain far more popular in Toyota’s home market than EVs, which accounted for just 1 percent of the passenger cars sold in Japan last year, based on industry data.

The recalls are unlikely to help turn the tide and make battery-only vehicles more appetizing to Japanese consumers. It’s also interesting to see the breakdown of where demo bZ4X models were heading to begin with. The overwhelming majority were scheduled to arrive in Europe with the remaining 19 percent being split between Japan and North America. The United States and Canada have a combined population of 368 million, whereas Japan is estimated to have roughly 125 million residents. That’s over half of the population of Europe, despite the vast majority of Toyota’s EVs being slated for demos in the EU.

[Image: Toyota Motor Corp]

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  • Bullnuke Bullnuke on Jun 23, 2022

    Perhaps if the folks using the "Bean Wearing a Sombreo" logo had spent more money on tightening fastners on their vehicles instead of funding annoying pop-up advertising, this problem may not have occurred...

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Jun 24, 2022

      True and I don't think many of those annoying pop up ads have convinced many on this site to buy a Tundra or any Toyota despite the fact that there are not many for sale. Kind of pointless to advertise a vehicle when you can't buy one.

  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Jun 28, 2022

    They should be recalled for that dull generic blob of a front end too!

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.