Canada’s transport ministry said it found a potential seat-related defect in one of Toyota’s RAV4 models after a fatal crash that led to a global recall.
The RAV4 SUV is one of Toyota’s top-selling models in North America and the newly discovered problems are worrisome both for a lot of customers and for the world’s top-selling automaker. Toyota Motor announced last week a global recall affecting nearly 2.9 million RAV4 models because their seatbelts might not be safe enough due to a design fault. In a recent statement, Canada’s transport ministry said it discovered that in a severe front-impact crash, rear seatbelts could sever after coming in contact with steel parts from seat frames, failing to restrain passengers. According to him, the finding has emerged after reconstructing a serious accident involving a 2011 RAV4 in Canada in which the front occupants survived, but the rear passengers suffered deadly injuries. Toyota said it was aware of the finding, along with a separate report from the US market in which a rear seat passenger sustained injuries due to a severed seatbelt following a crash, while adding that it had not been able to confirm a connection with injuries or fatalities.
The problem on the affected vehicles is with the lap-shoulder seatbelts in both second-row outboard seats. In the event of a severe frontal crash, the lap belt webbing might be cut and separate in contact with a portion of the metal seat cushion frame. The automaker said it would add resin covers to the metal seat cushion frames on all cars to mend the problem. The recall includes 1.3 million vehicles in North America, along with around 625,000 vehicles in Europe, 434,000 vehicles in China, 177,000 in Japan and 307,000 in other regions.