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UPDATE: STATEMENT FROM UMW TOYOTA MOTOR ON 22/10/10
"UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd has received confirmation from our principal, Toyota Motor Corporation that there are eight units of Toyota Crown (CBU model) sold in Malaysia by UMW Toyota Motor Sdn Bhd, involved in this Special Service Campaign.
The vehicles affected were produced between 8th Nov 2004 [||] 4th Jan 2006 in Japan. UMW Toyota Motor will contact all affected customers for the special service campaign to replace the brake master cylinder seal.
No other Toyota and Lexus models are affected by this campaign. Lexus vehicles sold by Lexus Malaysia were produced at the end of 2006.
Customers may also contact UMW Toyota Motor free phone line 1-800-8-869682 for further information or assistance."


Just as Toyota seemed to be recovering from its ‘nightmare’ episode of recalls, a new recall has been announced by the company. This time, it involves another huge number – over 1.5 million units in total – in North America, China and Japan. The models being recalled are the Avalon sedan (2005 to 2006), Highlander SUV from 2004 to 2006 and certain Lexus models (GS300, IS250 and IS350) as well. The recall is being made voluntarily and not in response to a directive by authorities in any country.
 
Toyota Avalon (left) and Highlander are mainly sold in the North American market
 
The recall is for a potential problem with the brake system concerning fluid leakage. Toyota brake fluid used during vehicle assembly for certain models contains polymers. The polymers act as lubricants for certain brake system components. If during vehicle maintenance, brake fluid is used that does not contain such polymers or only small amounts, a part of the internal rubber seal (brake master cylinder cup) located at the end of the brake master cylinder piston may become dry and may curl during movement of the piston. If this occurs, a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder into the brake booster, resulting in illumination of the brake warning lamp. If the brake warning lamp has illuminated and the vehicle continues to be operated without refilling the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir, the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline.
 
While the recall is certainly bad for Toyota’s image which has been synonymous with vehicles of top quality, it does show that Toyota, like other carmakers, is very sensitive to even the slightest possibility of defects in its vehicles and will quickly recall them for an inspection and replacement of parts. It’s a very costly exercise but the company can no longer risk long investigations to ascertain how widespread a problem might be; if incidents occur while investigations are still being carried out, consumers will perceive the company as being insensitive to the potential danger or worse, that it is hiding the matter.
 
Presumably UMW Toyota Motor will be issuing a statement in due course concerning units distributed in Malaysia. The Avalon and Highlander are not sold here but the Lexus models are.

 

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