TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. finally has a fix to keep the wheels from falling off its new bZ4X all-electric crossover, an embarrassing glitch that forced the world’s biggest automaker to recall the vehicle just two months after starting sales and stalled the company’s drive into electric vehicles.
Production of the remedied bZ4X was to set resume Thursday, Toyota Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said while announcing the fix. Sales in Japan will restart Oct. 26.
U.S. sales will reopen shortly, Maeda said, without offering a concrete timeline. In overseas markets, including the U.S., we will resume the sale in a sequential manner,” he said.
Toyota announced the recall in June, just two months after the bZ4X went on sale. The callback also affected the Subaru Solterra, a rebadged version of the EV sold by Toyota’s partner.
Globally, some 2,700 units of the bZ4X and 1,600 units of the Solterra were affected.
Solterra production resumed at the same time as the bZ4X.
The stumble hobbled the rollout of Toyota’s first mass-market EV at a time when the company was coming under increased criticism for lack of conviction in pure battery electrics. It also cast a shadow over the company’s plans for a range of bZ-badged EVs and was seen as an uncertainty in the coming introduction of the Lexus RZ, the premium counterpart to the bZ4X.
“It is embarrassing to say that we had done various assessments but we couldn’t detect this problem because we didn’t conduct the assessments based on a premise that the quality of wheels would be so off in the assessment process,” Maeda said of Toyota’s miss with bZ4X.
“We will respond firmly to regain trust in the safe of Toyota vehicles.”