By on June 23, 2022

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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14 Comments on “Toyota and Subaru Recalling EVs Over Loose Wheels...”

  • avatar

    “While Toyota has said that not every bZ4X produced was impacted by the recall”

    I’d say that the affected vehicles were not properly impacted to begin with.


  • avatar

    If you are out there. I responded to something you said about Tucker, 3-4 stories ago. I dont play well with liberals. I responded with a load of snark. Threw it over the fence and walked away.
    You responded to that with logic, reason and respect. Good on you. I was wrong.

    You said Tucker is a racist. He said african-americans are 3% of population but do 60-70% ( dont remember exact # ) of the shooting and robbing. ( 12% of total population. But, 1/2 are women so we re down to 6%. But, under 15 and over 55 are doing the shooting. So the number is 3%) Are you saying that / that type of statement is racist.?

    • 0 avatar

      redapple, thank you, and no worries. It is easy to be snarky online and I do it all the time, often wrongly.

      It is not necessarily racist to present statistics such as those you describe, but with Tucker there is often a surrounding context that is troublesome. He uses his statistics to defend discredited ideas such as the Charles Murray thesis that Black people are inherently genetically inferior, or to disclaim any responsibility of the society as a whole to improve the situation of Black people who live in it. His rhetoric also often clearly divides the society into “us,” who are his predominantly older, white, and exurban or rural viewers, and “them,” who include both most nonwhite people (especially poorer ones) and big-city folk like me.

      I’ll close with an analogy: people in Tucker’s audience tend to feel (often correctly) that they are being treated with contempt by urban liberals. Things that the urban liberals don’t even notice often sound, I understand, like clanging alarm bells because they convey that contempt so loudly. I would say that people in an urban multiracial environment feel the same high level of discomfort on hearing ideas like Tucker’s, when his core audience might not even notice anything wrong.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    Henry Ford, while setting up his Model T factory in 1909-
    “Damn it, why can’t I get the wheels to stay on?!?!”

  • avatar

    I almost lost a wheel when I didn’t fully torque the nuts down. Also had an axle break on a Sprite (known weakness even today but mostly in race cars) fortuantly stopped before it came out. Also a a contractors truck lost it’s wheel and slammed into the side of my VW beetle. Got a hundred bucks for damage which I never fixed.

  • avatar

    This sounds like the hub and not the lug nuts, right? (You would have to really go out of your way to get all five lug nuts wrong on a production vehicle [also, that’s why there are five — if your vehicle has four, get a different vehicle]. There’s only one hub and when the hub goes it all goes.)

    In which case Automotive News should say ‘nut’ and not ‘bolt’ — unless Subaru talked Toyota into a *very* unique hub design on this vehicle. [And yes, Mr. Anal-Retentive over there in the corner, there is no such thing as “very unique” — here’s a cookie and you are very special to all of us. Go – go eat your cookie – yes we will see you tomorrow and we can’t wait. Yes. Bye for now.]

    (My uninformed hypothesis? It’s limited to ‘demo’ vehicles because the early builds were done outside of the regular production process — therefore easy to skip a step and a step was skipped.)

    All of this reinforces the iron-clad fact that you should never skip over the advertorials when reading TTAC:

    ToolGuy out.

  • avatar

    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…

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff S

      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.

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