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24 April 2024

No immediate recall plans, says Al Futtaim

No immediate recall plans, says Al Futtaim. (REUTERS)

By VM Sathish

Al Futtaim Motors, the sole distributor of Toyota and Lexus in the UAE, has no plans to recall any vehicles from the market immediately.

The company said it is working closely with the Ministry of Economy to address the issues arising out the global recall of Toyota cars.

A recent fault with the accelerator pedal in certain Toyota models globally has caused a major dent in the Japanese car maker's reputation, with thousands of Toyotas recalled for rectification and retrofitting.

The UAE dealer, however, said it plans to conduct a service campaign in the country simultaneously with other leading Toyota dealers in the Middle East in the coming weeks to address customer concerns arising out of the recall that is haunting Toyota, especially in the US and European markets.

Speaking to Emirates Business, Hugh Dickerson, General Manager, Sales and Marketing, Al Futtaim Motors, said the only two Toyota models likely to be affected by the recall in the UAE are the Avalon and Sequoia and the dealer is working with the MoE to address the problems.

He said most Toyota vehicles imported to the UAE are manufactured in the company's Japanese and Australian plants, which are not affected by the recall.

Dickerson said: "We are not recalling any Toyota vehicles in the UAE market. The two brands with a remote likelihood of being affected here – the Avalon and the Sequoia –constitute less than one per cent of Al Futtaim automobile's sales in the UAE market. All our popular models, like the Corolla, Camry and all Lexus, are not affected because of the different climatic conditions in the UAE."

He said Al Futtaim Motors is liaising with the MoE and the Ministry officials are fully satisfied with the situation. Officials from Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said the recall issue was being handled by the MoE.

Hugh said all vehicle manufacturers have problems of a similar nature from time to time and the current issue will not affect Toyota's market share in the Middle East, which the brand dominates.

The decision not to recall any vehicles in the UAE was based on the fact that the problem in the US market is caused by a component used to heat the vehicles during winter, which is not used in the Middle East due to the hot climate here. Toyota said on its official website that the recall in the US market and the suspension of sales involves certain Toyota 2010 RAV4 models, Corolla, Matrix, Avalon, 2000-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2008-10 Tundra and 2008-10 Sequoia.

"If you have noticed that your accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or is not smooth during operation, the vehicle should be stopped at the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance," the company website says.

Dickerson said taking into account customer concerns from all over the world, Al Futtaim will soon contact Toyota customers and start a service campaign.

"There is no reason to check all our popular models in the UAE market [apart from the ones that could possible be affected]. Technically, we are running a service campaign in the UAE and spare parts have been ordered for the campaign. Fully trained technicians are also in place to address any customer concerns in all our service stations across the country."

Dickerson said: "We are still importing Toyota vehicles into the UAE. We did not send any containers back to Japan."

He said Toyota and its dealer Al Futtaim give the same level of customer service in the UAE market that the company provides to customers in the US, UK and other parts of the world.

"Even though the likelihood of a recall in the Middle East is very limited, we have chosen to start a service campaign because we give the same importance to customer service in this market," he said.

Safety measures

Toyota recently announced two safety recalls covering some of its models to address conditions related to the accelerator pedal.

The first recall concerned the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat to interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause it to get stuck in the wide-open position.

The second recall was because of a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may get stuck in a partially depressed position.


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