Warranties on about 235,500 RAV4 vehicles will be extended and steering complaints on up to 500,000 late model Matrix and Corollas in the US will be resolved by Toyota Motor Corp. Since Toyota does not regard these cases as safety issues, it is repairing the vehicles outside the channel for recalls monitored by US regulators.
In a notice sent to US dealers, a "harsh shift" or a dashboard light turning on to indicate a malfunction may be observed by drivers of 2001 to 2003 model year RAV4s that have automatic transaxles.
Those who own US Matrix and Corolla vehicles from model years 2009 and 2010 might notice a steering drift. Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said that US Toyota dealers will repair the steering for owners who file a complaint, emphasizing that this isn't a safety issue but is about customer satisfaction.
Last February, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had started a preliminary probe into steering complaints on the Corolla and Matrix.
Back then, the NHTSA had received 168 consumer complaints that were linked to eight crashes and 11 injuries. Toyota clarified that the Corollas made in Japan and Europe used different parts for steering from the models sold in North America.
Lyons declined to give an estimate of the amount Toyota would spend for the repairs.