Toyota BZ4X and Subaru Solterra twins back in production after wheels fell off

Toyota BZ4X and Subaru Solterra twins back in production after wheels fell off

Toyota has resumed production of its new-generation electric car after recalling the first 4,000 vehicles because the wheels could fall off.

Production of the Toyota BZ4X – and its facelifted sibling, the Subaru Solterra – has resumed in Japan after the auto giant addressed one of the most embarrassing recalls in the auto industry.

More than 2,700 Toyota BZ4X electric SUVs – and more than 1,600 identical Subaru Solterras – have been recalled worldwide within two months of the vehicles going on sale because the wheels are loose or could become detached.

There have been two reports of a wheel coming off completely in the US and one in Taiwan.

According to reports from abroad, Toyota underestimated the impact of the electric vehicle’s additional weight on the attachment of the wheels.

“It’s embarrassing to say that we had conducted various evaluations, but we could not see this issue because we did not conduct the evaluations based on the premise that the quality of the wheels would be so poor in the evaluation process,” says Toyota Chief Technology Chief Executive Masahiko Maeda told the respected industry publication Automotive Newswhich has an office in Japan.

“We will act decisively to regain confidence in the safety of Toyota vehicles.”

That Reuters The news agency reported that the recall notice sent by Toyota to Japanese authorities in June said that “sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, increasing the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle.”

Toyota assured authorities that the failed hub bolts would be replaced and properly tightened, and a new method had been implemented on the production line.

Automotive Newswho elaborated on the recall, reported: “The deficiency stems from the fact that the high torque that the car’s all-electric powertrain exerts on the wheels was not taken into account.

“The wheels are secured with hub bolts, but even with low mileage, vigorous driving – such as sharp turns or aggressive braking – can cause the wheels to come loose.

“The problem was exacerbated by the added weight of the… battery pack”, Automotive News reported, noting that Toyota’s expert said “the original wheel surface was too rough with large variations in finish quality.”

“The solution is to add a washer to the hub bolts and improve wheel surface friction.” Automotive News reported.

Both the Toyota BZ4X and Subaru Solterra are slated to hit Australian showrooms in 2023 pending any delays.

The Subaru was supposed to arrive before the Toyota version of the exact same car, but the production hiatus may have changed those plans.

Pricing and exact timing for Australia are yet to be announced.

Joshua Dowling has been a motoring journalist for over 20 years, most of his time working for The Sydney Morning Herald (as motor editor and one of the early members of the Drive team) and News Corp Australia. He joined CarAdvice / Drive in 2018 and has been a World Car of the Year judge for more than 10 years.

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