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Toyota Issues Another Massive Recall

(c) Sky News 2012

Toyota has announced its second huge recall of vehicles in as many months in a move affecting almost 2.8 million cars world-wide.

The company blames problems with steering mechanisms and its hybrid system water pump.

The Japanese firm said it was recalling 1.5 million vehicles in Japan (EUREX: FMJP.EX - news) , 670,000 in the United States and 496,000 in Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) to correct  steering intermediate extension shafts which can be damaged at slow speed.

But it insisted that the problem, seen in cars such as the second-generation Prius and certain Corolla models, could be fixed in about 50 minutes.

Separately, the car-maker is recalling 630,000 vehicles worldwide, including 350,000 in the US and 175,000 in Japan, to fix water pumps in hybrid vehicles.

Toyota UK told Sky News there were 75 thousand British cars affected by the two recall issues in total and there had been no reported accidents in the UK as a result of the steering problem.

Customers whose cars are subject to the recall will receive a letter to that effect within 6 weeks, the company said, though anyone concerned could enter their car's registration into a special search database on the Toyota UK website to check whether their vehicle is affected.

The move is the latest in a series of embarrassing recalls for the firm.

In October, Toyota said it was pulling back more than 7.4 million vehicles worldwide to fix faulty power window switches, the industry's biggest single recall since Ford (NYSE: F - news) took 8 million vehicles off the road in 1996.

A previous series of Toyota recalls involving more than 10 million vehicles between 2009 and 2011 damaged the firm's image but it recovered and earlier this month raised its full-year net profit forecast to $9.7 billion (£6.1bn), citing solid sales.

This year's profit forecast comes despite a big drop in car sales in China since September, when anti-Japanese protests erupted over a diplomatic row.

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