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Another Toyota Recall: RHD Vehicles

TOKYO October 18, 2005; The AP reported that Toyota Motor Corp., Japan's top automaker, said Wednesday its largest recall ever affects cars in Japan, Australia, Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia, but declined to detail how much it will cost.

Toyota spokeswoman Ai Ishitoya said the company was not detailing costs of the recall or giving repair estimates. She said an electrical defect could cause the headlights to fail, but that the problem only affected cars with right-hand steering.

Autos in the United States were not included in the recall, she said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the recall, covering 1.27 million vehicles among 17 car models, would set Toyota back about $127 million, based on an estimated repair price of $100 per car for such a fix. Toyota declined to comment on the report.

Japan's Transport Ministry announced the recall Tuesday, calling it the country's biggest ever.

The number of Toyotas recalled exceeded the previous record in 1996, when Japan's second-largest automaker Nissan Motor Co. recalled 1.04 million cars in Japan due to a condenser defect. No injuries or accidents have been attributed to the defects, said Transport Ministry official Takeshi Tanabe.

Models included in the recall include Toyota's popular Corolla sedans and Vitz compact models, because of a defective switch of front lights caused by a design problem. All vehicles involved were produced between May 2000 and September 2002.

Last week, Toyota, Japan's top automaker and the world's second-largest automaker after General Motors Corp., said it was recalling 160,000 Prius gasoline-electric hybrid cars worldwide due to stalled engines in some cases caused by an electrical problem. No accidents or injuries have been reported related to the problem.