The UAE Ministry of Economy yesterday said automobile giants Toyota and General Motors have quickly responded to the need for repairing their recalled faulty vehicles.
Dr Hashim Al Nuaimi, Director of the ministry's Consumer Protection Department, told Emirates Business that Al Futtaim Motors (Toyota) recalled 3,355 cars while Al Ghandi Auto, Liberty Automobiles and Bin Hamoodah Auto (GM) recalled 1,790 cars. The total number recalled was 5,145.
Al Nuaimi said the MoE and Minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri have paid very close attention to the repairs of these cars. He said the ministry follows up press reports on the repairs, which are to be done free of charge through the concerned agencies. Owners have been urged to make sure they avail of this free service.
Al Futtaim fixed the faulty Avalons and Sequoias in a record time of two-and-a-half months, said Al Nuaimi.
He said 2,399 out of the agency's 3,355 recalled cars have been repaired, a figure of 71.51 per cent. Al Futtaim asked the ministry for help with identifying the owners of the remaining 956 cars through the country's traffic departments and whether the owner had sold the cars.
The ministry official said that Mani Sorel, Regional Services Manager of General Motors Overseas Distribution Corporation, informed the MoE that the company had recalled 1,790 cars, the models being Chevrolet Captiva (2007 and 2008), GMC (2008) Chevrolet Cruze (2010).
The breakdown is: 1,316 Captivas from Al Ghandi (526), Liberty (309) and Bin Hamoodah (481); 311 GMC Terrains from Al Ghandi (180) and Bin Hamoodah (131); and 163 Cruzes from Al Ghandi (107), Liberty (38) and Bin Hamoodah (18).
GM sent its UAE agencies a list of all the cars for free repairs, said Al Nuaimi. He said that as on March 24, the three GM agencies had requested all the owners to bring their cars in for repairs.
The Toyota vehicle recall began when it was found that eight of its models had an acceleration defect – the cars took off at uncontrollable speed, causing deaths in some cases in the West, though none in the UAE. By the end of January this year, Toyota had set a record for the single largest car recall in the world. GM then announced that it also recalling vehicles, blaming a supplier partly owned by Toyota for a faulty car part.
The problem and its cure
Toyota began its recall after it came to light that some of its cars were accelerating even without the driver pushing the pedal. Reportedly, the defect was caused by a simple yet lethal fault – the accelerator, which was too long, tended to get stuck if a floor mat slipped under it, and the car picked up speed on its own. Fixing the fault involves replacement of the long accelerator pedal with a shorter one. In the US, Toyota also took care to instal a brake-override to kill engine power – if the throttle and brake pedals are accidentally pressed together.