AUSTRALIA: Steering glitch slows new Toyota launch
Toyota, which has endured various major embarrassing recalls in a number of markets recently, had to temporarily halt deliveries of the newly-launched Corolla in Australia, according to a local newspaper.
This is the car recently launched in Europe as the Auris, built in Toyota's plant here in England.
Australia, along with other markets like New Zealand, has kept the Corolla nameplate. Although Toyota Australia has sourced some previous Corolla models from South Africa, initial supplies of the redesigned model are being built in Japan.
The Age newspaper said shipments of the new model to dealers were cancelled while the company tracked down a problem which was discovered while the cars were being unloaded after the voyage from Japan.
The problem is a clip that holds the steering column in place. Some have not been pushed in properly, allowing them to come loose, according to the paper.
"One of the truck drivers got into a car, pulled the telescopic steering column outwards and the clip fell off, allowing the steering column to drop down,'' Toyota spokesman Mike Breen told The Age.
Breen said all cars on the wharf had been checked and the clip was found to be incorrectly installed on several other cars. He added no cars had been shipped to dealers before the problem was discovered, according to The Age.
A delay of only "a coupe of days" was anticipated.
The Age noted that the Corolla is Toyota's biggest seller in Australia, the cars's most successful market. 2006 sales of 4.8% of all new vehicle sales in Australia were almost twice the 2.5% market share the Corolla holds in Japan.
Toyota Australia builds the Camry and a V6 version called Aurion locally, and exports them to various markets including the Middle East, but chairman emeritus John Conomos told The Age that the strength of the Australian dollar would not make Corolla exports viable.
The local Toyota unit has previously built the Corolla and, at one point, it was also badged as a General Motors Holden under a now defunct government model-sharing scheme.