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Toyota, Subaru recall EVs over risk wheels could come loose; customers told to stop driving

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Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and sudden braking  in the cars could cause a hub bolt to loosen, raising the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle. The regulator said it was not aware of any accidents being caused by the defect.

The safety regulator said it was advising drivers to stop using the vehicle until a more “permanent” repair measure was in place.

All of the cars recalled in Japan had not yet been delivered to customers as they were meant for test drives and display, spokespeople of the automakers said.

“We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this causes you,” Toyota said on its website. “We would have repaired it as soon as possible, but we are investigating the details.”

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A Toyota spokesperson said not every model was subjected to the recall but declined to say how many it has built overall.

For Subaru, most of the vehicles were for dealers and none were delivered to customers in the U.S., a Subaru spokesperson said.

The recall comes less than two months after Toyota, a relative latecomer to the EV market, rolled out the electric crossover to the domestic market as a lease-only option.

Toyota has been criticized by some investors and environmental organizations for not acting quickly enough to phase out gasoline-powered cars and embrace EVs instead.

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Toyota has repeatedly pushed back against the criticism, arguing the necessity to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.

Hybrid models remain far more popular in Toyota’s home market than EVs, which accounted for just 1 percent of the passenger cars sold in Japan last year, based on industry data.

Still, the market is growing fast and foreign automakers including Tesla are making visible inroads on the streets of cities such as Tokyo.

Larry Vellequette contributed to this report.

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