Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corp. is likely to be fined for violating a safety requirement and recall cars of its leading popular models, a government official said Monday.
According to Yoon Jin-hwan, the head of the transport ministry's motor vehicles management division, the Japanese automaker has agreed to recall 5,232 vehicles of six models starting on March 27 for substandard materials surrounding seat heaters that can catch fire.
"The automaker will also be fined as it failed to meet safety requirements," said Yoon.
The official said the automaker will likely be fined 150 million won ($141,600), or about 1/1,000 of its total sales in South Korea as stipulated in the law.
A fine is automatically imposed in case of safety violations, he said, but such cases are rare. In 2012, only two out of 187 vehicle recalls were safety-related, both of which were also subject to fines, according to the official.
Next month's recall will affect 3,260 units of the Camry passenger vehicle, 920 Camry Hybrids, 182 Camry V6s, 599 Sienna 2WDs and 121 Sienna 4WDs. All the vehicles were produced between November 2012 and January 2013.
In a separate move, Toyota Motor Korea Co., the local unit of the Japanese automaker, will recall about 7,300 Prius hybrids for a software problem in the vehicle's hybrid system that could cause various transistors to overheat and force the vehicle to shut down.
The recall, expected to be announced early next month, affects third-generation Prius hybrids produced since March 2009.
Toyota has recalled some 1.9 million of the Prius cars globally for the same problem. (Yonhap)