The tardy inclusion of the Chinese market in Toyota's latest global recalls may affect the No 1 automaker's image in the world's largest auto market, Japanese media commented, according to a report by the China Securities Journal on Monday.
Toyota on Jan 26 announced a worldwide recall of 1.7 million vehicles because of various defects that may cause fuel leakage. China was not included in this recall.
The exclusion of China in both of the two large-scale recalls sparked controversies and China's consumer product quality watchdog, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, asked the company to make a "full explanation and provide detailed technical descriptions."
Closely following the explanation request, on Feb 25 Toyota Motor (China) Investment Co said it would recall 5,202 imported Lexus cars in China.
Zhang Xin, a researcher with Guotai Junan Securities Co Ltd, told the journal that it is possible that auto parts by different manufacturers have different standards and may cause differentiated recall decisions.
The late inclusion of China in the recall reflects that China's legal system in protecting consumer rights is not complete, said Li Xianjun, director of the Automobile Development Center in Tsinghua University. He suggested consumer product quality watchdogs to conduct spot-checks on Toyota vehicles, according to the report.