Car door fire probe includes 1.4 million Toyota cars and SUVs
Federal safety regulators have expanded a probe of the power window switches in certain Toyota vehicles that could result in fire and other “thermal” hazards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says on its website that it has added about 600,000 Toyota Camry, Highlander, and Yaris vehicles from the 2007, 2008, and 2009 model years to the investigation, which now encompasses more than 1.4 million cars and SUVs.
NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigations (ODI) says that the master power window door switch in the affected vehicles could be to blame for reports it has received about fires erupting inside the car doors. The original probe, which began in February and is still ongoing, focused on the fire hazard in 2007 model-year Toyota Camrys and RAV4s. It now includes certain model-year 2008 and 2009 Camry and Camry HVs; 2008 and 2009 Highlander Hybrids; 2008 RAV4s; and 2008 and 2009 Yaris subcompact cars.
To date, the alleged defect has been blamed for starting 161 fires and causing nine injuries. None of the vehicles have been recalled for window switch repairs or replacements.
The Toyota Camry is the top-selling car in the U.S. In recent years, however, both Toyota and its Camry have been under fire from drivers and passengers who claim the vehicles accelerate suddenly and speed out of control. Many such incidents of sudden unintended acceleration have ended in horrific fatalities and injuries. They also sparked a record global recall of more than 8 million Toyota vehicles.