Toyota stops selling 8 recent models following fire test failure

Toyota stops selling 8 recent models following fire test failureToyota Motor Corp has stopped selling several vehicles, including its widely popular Camry sedan, in North America as seat material used in these vehicles has failed to meet fire retardation standards.

The auto giant stopped selling eight recent-model seat heater-equipped vehicles after South Korean safety officials alerted it about a fire risk in the vehicles.

South Korean safety officials apply the same fire retardation standards as those used by U. S. officials. The fire retardation standards require a certain burn rate as a blaze moves across the seat heater's cloth pad. It may also be noted here that the Toyota cars in question were built in the U. S. starting in August 2012, and some of the models were exported to South Korea.

Some analysts, however, believe that the alert will not affect demand for Toyota vehicles in the region, and any hit to Toyota's reputation would only be short-lived.

Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said, "The timing of this issue, and its impact on Toyota's most popular models, couldn't be much worse. Given that much of the U. S. is currently in the grips of a record cold snap, there's sure to be high demand for models with seat heaters."

The world's biggest car maker said the number of affected vehicles at its dealerships in the U. S. could be close to 36,000, but that doesn't include vehicles that are in transit to dealers or vehicles that have already been sold to consumers.

However, Toyota said it didn't believe that a recall of the affected vehicles was necessary. The Japan-based auto giant also claimed that there had been no reports of fires or injuries/accidents related to the issue.

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