The latest news on the Lexus recall issue from Friday, which is said to affect 270,000 customers world wide, has been identified and confirmed. It's all down to 'variations in the manufacturing process' Lexus say, leaving the valve springs vulnerable to breakage. Up to 1120 Australian-sold could be affected by the problem and Toyota/Lexus has said it will mail a request to the customers asking them to take their cars into a dealer and have the valve springs replaced, free of charge.
The ongoing recall issues may have caused the slump in profit-after-tax numbers, which included a one-off tax adjustment to prior years, as Toyota reported a loss of $107.9 million compared with a profit of $123.3 million during 2008-09.
President and CEO Max Yasuda said that after a flat start to the year, the second half saw Toyota Australia record a stronger than expected domestic sales result.
"The global financial crisis affected demand for Toyota vehicles, but by mid year, improved market conditions, boosted by the Federal Government's investment allowance helped Toyota Australia achieve 214,465 domestic vehicle sales for the financial year," he said.
"For the calendar year, Toyota was the best selling brand achieving 200,991 vehicle sales, representing a market share of 21.4 per cent. We expect market conditions to continue to improve through the rest of 2010, making our industry goal of 920,000 domestic sales achievable."
Mr Yasuda said the past 12 months was a challenging time for Toyota Australia.
"Fluctuations in currency, price increases in raw materials, increased global competition from global car importers and global recall activity in late 2009 made local conditions difficult. Toyota Australia responded quickly to the Prius recall involving 2378 cars in the Australian market. Our dealers personally contacted customers and completed the software upgrade to 90 percent of vehicles within three weeks," he said.
"Having participated in this recall activity, we have responded by undertaking new activities to ensure high quality standards are achieved. This includes further developing our capability for early detection of quality issues and rectification.
"Toyota Motor Corporation has formed a Special Committee for Global Quality and Toyota Australia's manufacturing plant at Altona plays a role in this activity. We will continue to challenge ourselves to ensure we deliver the highest-quality cars to our customers."
Mr Yasuda said that Toyota Australia's strong performance confirmed the company's position as market leader. "Four of the top 10 market place sellers were Toyotas; the Corolla, HiLux, Camry and Yaris," he said.