Wheels Could Fall Off Toyota SUV

Car recalls usually involve non-life-threatening issues like windshield wipers and broken navigation systems. Sometimes, they are much worse. The most famous of the latter category is the Takata airbag recall that affected 30 million cars across 20 brands. These were installed in cars built from 2001 to 2019. Several people died when the faulty airbags deployed

Toyota posted one of its rare recalls due to an extremely dangerous malfunction. Its BZ4X vehicle can lose a wheel while it is being driven. It appears only a few hundred vehicles are involved. However, it is hard to imagine a more terrifying problem. CNN reported that Toyota seemed not to take the problem seriously enough: “Toyota did not know why this was happening, but the automaker said it would investigate and have the problem corrected once engineers understood why the wheels were coming loose.”

Toyota, in a barely generous gesture, said it would buy back the vehicles (not a full price, it appears) or offer credits that may rise to as much as $5,000.

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Recalls of any size get substantial publicity and can affect consumer confidence of brand safety. That probably undermines brand sales, even if the effect is modest. Wheels falling off a car is likely to be widely covered by the media.

Toyota and its luxury brand Lexus usually sit at the top of car quality rankings. Perhaps wheels that fall off will not mean these rankings will not decline. For the owners of the BZ4X, though, Toyota’s quality reputation means nothing.

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