- Toyota said it would recall 2,700 of its new electric SUVs over fears their wheels could come off.
- Toyota is a world leader in car sales but has been slow to embrace electric vehicles (EV).
- Analysts said the issue was mechanical in nature and unlikely to point to problems in Toyota's EV plans.
In a dent to its ambitions to become a global leader in electric vehicles, Toyota said it would recall 2,700 newly launched, all-electric SUVs over fears that their wheels could come off.
Toyota said on Thursday that the global recall of model bZ4X would impact about 2,200 cars in Europe, 260 in the US, 10 in Canada, and 110 in Japan, per Reuters. Some of these cars have not been delivered to customers.
"After low-mileage use, all of the hub bolts on the wheel can loosen to the point where the wheel can detach from the vehicle. If a wheel detaches from the vehicle while driving, it could result in a loss of vehicle control, increasing the risk of a crash," according to Toyota's press release.
The Japanese carmaker said it was still trying to find out what circumstances could cause the wheels to come off, per the release. Toyota said drivers should avoid driving the car until it found a solution. There have been no reported incidents or injuries resulting from this issue so far, according to the Financial Times.
The company did not say how it discovered the problem. An unnamed Japanese government official told Reuters that authorities learned about the issue after some people in the US drove the SUVs.
Another electric vehicle co-developed by Toyota is facing a global recall over the same issue. Subaru said on Thursday that it is asking owners to return about 2,600 units of Solterra, an all-electric car it produced with Toyota, per Reuters.
Toyota was the world's largest car manufacturer in 2021 with more than 10.5 million cars sold, per Nikkei. Despite its global dominance in car sales, Toyota has been slow to embrace fully-electric cars. Toyota marketed the bZ4X as its first all-battery vehicle. It launched the car last month in Japan and had plans to introduce the model to US dealers this spring.
"BZ4X is the first Toyota vehicle to be launched under the global bZ series, with more bZ vehicles on the horizon intending to elevate the BEV segment for years to come," the company touted in a press release in April.
The bZ4X was part of Toyota's plans to become a global leader in electric vehicles. Toyota said in December it would invest $35.2 billion by 2030 into electric cars, per Bloomberg. It would use the investment to develop up to 30 fully-electric models and sell 3.5 million such units by the end of the decade.
Some analysts did not think the recalls were symptomatic of deeper issues within Toyota's electric-vehicle production set-up. David Leggett, an automotive editor at GlobalData, told CNBC the recalls could be discouraging for Toyota, but that "the recall is an early one in the model lifecycle and on a mechanical part that has nothing to do with the car's electric powertrain."
Toyota and Subaru did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.