Skip to main content

Toyota named Recall King of 2012 with more than 5.3 million in recalls

Not only did Toyota recall over 5 million vehicles in the United States last year, it also agreed to pay the most costly automotive settlement ever. So just how did Toyota rack up more than 5.3 million in vehicle recalls? Keep reading to see the month by month tallies, as well as details on the $1.1 billion settlement.


Despite winning numerous accolades in 2012 including honors from and JD Power & Associates, Toyota Motor Corp. has just received the most dubious distinction of 2012: the most recalled car maker of the year. For the third time in four years, Toyota recalled more vehicles than any other automaker in the United States. In fact, Toyota recalled a total of 5.3 million cars, trucks and SUVs in the U.S. last year. The hefty recall total was more than enough to pass Honda, which lead the U.S. in recalls in 2011. That being said, Honda wasn’t that far behind Toyota in 2012 with 2.5 million vehicles involved in safety campaigns.

So just how did Toyota become the recall king of 2012? Keep reading to see the complete recall rundown.

February 2012

Toyota started 2012 with a small recall involving 427 model-year 2012 Toyota RAV4 vehicles, manufactured from November 24, 2011 through December 19, 2011. The automaker issued the safety recall due to a curtain shield airbag deployment malfunction. Affected RAV4 SUVs received airbag assembly, free of charge.

March 2012

In March, Toyota recalled roughly 682,000 vehicles in the United States in two separate recalls. The larger of the two recalls involved roughly 500,000 model-year 2005 through 2009 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks. Specifically, affected vehicles contained a steering wheel mechanism problem, which may cause damage to the driver’s airbag module electrical connection.

The automaker’s second March recall concerned almost 187,000 Toyota Camry sedans and 116,000 Toyota Venza crossover SUVs. In particular, Toyota recalled the affected Camrys and Venzas due to a dangerous brake lamp switch problem. For more details about the March brake lamp recall, as well its root cause, click here.

June 2012

This past summer Lexus, Toyota's luxury brand, expanded a 2009 floor-mat entrapment recall to include 154,000 model-year 2010 Lexus RX350 and Lexus RX400h vehicles. The initial October 2009 recall was issued due to concerns that floor mats may catch on the accelerator pedal and cause unintended acceleration. The recall affected 3.8 million Toyota vehicles, including the Camry, Tacoma, Tundra, Avalon and Prius. The Lexus ES and IS were also included in the recall. Click here for more information about the original recall and the expansion.

August 2012

Toyota finished off the summer of 2012 by issuing the recall of about 778,000 Toyota and Lexus vehicles due to a rear suspension arm defect. According to the automaker, affected vehicles contained improperly tightened rear suspension arms, which may separate during vehicle operation. The recall included 2006 through 2011 Toyota RAV4 SUVs and 2010 Lexus HS250h sedans.

October 2012

In October, Toyota recalled 7.43 million cars globally due to a power window switch issue that posed a fire risk. The recall affected 2.47 million vehicles in the United States. The recall concerned countless Toyota and Scion models including 2007 through 2009 Camry, Camry Hybrid, Yaris, RAV4, Tundra, Sequoia, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Corolla, Matrix, Scion xD, Scion xA. Click the following link for more details concerning Toyota's massive recall.

November 2012

Toyota followed up its massive October recall with another sizable recall that involved 2.77 million vehicles worldwide. The November safety recall concerned 670,000 model-year 2004 through 2009 Toyota Prius Hybrids. Toyota recalled the affected vehicles to fix a steering defect and a water pump problem. Although all 670,000 Prius Hybrids suffered from the possible steering defect, the water pump defect affected about 350,000. For more information on the Toyota Prius recall click here.

Additionally, Toyota recalled 150,000 model-year 2001 through 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks due to a corrosion problems. According to Toyota, concerned vehicles may contain a spare tire carrier that has not been properly coated with phosphate, which may contribute to vehicle corrosion. Click here for more details concerning the Toyota Tacoma rust recall.

The automaker also recalled 11,200 Scion iQ subcompact cars earlier in month due to a occupant-classification system (OCS) problem. According to the Toyota, the OCS system, which detects who's sitting in the passenger seat, may fail due to cable damage. Consequently, the airbags may not deploy in the event of an accident. For more information about the Scion iQ airbag recall click the following link.

December 2012

The recall-prone automaker capped off the year by agreeing to pay an unprecedented fine to settle its previously issued unintended acceleration recall. Toyota's $1.1 billion payout is the largest-ever automotive civil settlement in history. Click here for the full story.