Transport Canada (the country’s transportation ministry) has announced that it uncovered a serious (potential) flaw in the rear seat belts of a 2011 RAV4 after reconstructing a crash involving a head-on collision in which the front seat passengers survived, but those in the back seats did not. The fatalities were deemed to have been caused when the rear belts were severed after coming into contact with steel parts from their frames.
Toyota admitted it was aware of the finding, along with a separate report from the U.S. market in which a rear seat passenger sustained injuries due to a severed seat belt following a crash. However, it stated that it had not been able to confirm a connection with injuries or deaths. At the same time, the Japanese auto manufacturer announced that it was issuing a recall of over 1 million RAV4s in US and Canada, in addition to nearly 625,000 vehicles in Europe, 434,000 vehicles in China, and 307,000 in other regions. An additional 177,000 vehicles including RAV4s and its Vanguard SUV model for the domestic market are being recalled in Japan, where it said they plan to “add resin covers to the metal seat cushion frames of these vehicles.”
Note: According to Autodata, the RAV4 was the No. 8 best-selling vehicle in the United States last year.