Now, Peugeot Citroen recalls 90,000 cars



PSA Peugeot Citroen, Europe’s second-largest automaker, will recall more than 90,000 cars because they may share a gas-pedal flaw that prompted Toyota Motor Corp. to recall millions of vehicles.

The action affects about 10 per cent of Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 models sold throughout Europe, or fewer than 100,000 vehicles, Jean-Marc Sarret, a spokesman for the Paris-based carmaker, said in a telephone interview. The accelerator-pedal defect may cause crashes.

The vehicles were made at a plant in the Czech Republic where Toyota and Peugeot Citroen jointly manufacture small cars. The factory is managed by Toyota and produces about 330,000 cars a year, split between the 107, C1 and Toyota Aygo models, according to the venture’s Web site.

“We’ll have the same recall campaign as Toyota for the affected cars,” Sarret said yesterday. “The faulty component isn’t used in all the vehicles. It represents about 10 per cent of C1s and 107s in circulation.”

Toyota announced a recall of 2.3 million US-built vehicles on January 21 because the gas pedals may stick in the depressed position, causing vehicles to speed uncontrollably. As many as 1.8 million Toyotas will be recalled in Europe, the Japanese automaker said January 29, and some cars will be recalled in China.

Sudden acceleration of Toyota vehicles has been linked to 19 deaths in the past decade, Henry Waxman, chairman of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement on the committee’s Web site. Two congressional committees have scheduled hearings on Toyota’s handling of the matter.

The pedal parts were supplied in the US and in Europe by CTS Corp, said Juergen Stolze, a spokesman for Toyota in Germany. Toyota has said that customers will get repair details next week and that parts from Elkhart, Indiana-based CTS will be replaced or new assemblies will be installed.

Sarret said no other Peugeot or Citroen models are affected and that he wasn’t aware of any injuries caused by the problem in the company’s vehicles.

The recall affects the equivalent of about 0.5 per cent of the cars Peugeot sells in Europe in a year. The company sold 3.26 million vehicles worldwide in 2008, and sales in Europe last year were 1.87 million, according to Peugeot’s Web site and reports from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.

“From a purely financial standpoint, it isn’t dramatic, but especially for a company that builds its business on quality, it’s a real setback,” said Jens Schattner, an analyst at Sal Oppenheim Jr & Cie in Frankfurt.

The Peugeot and Citroen models affected were made from 2005 to mid-2009, Sarret said. Toyota is in charge of operational management of the factory in Kolin, he said. The plant is the only production site for 107 and C1 models and made a total of 216,200 of the vehicles in 2008, according to the company’s Web site.

Peugeot must assume responsibility even though Toyota runs the factory, Sal Oppenheim’s Schattner said. The recall probably won’t hamper cooperation between the carmakers because the plant is otherwise a success, he said.

Sarret said he didn’t know whether Peugeot Citroen will be able to reclaim costs from the supplier or insurers.

Peugeot has advanced 78 per cent in Paris trading in the past 12 months, giving the company a market value of ¤5.53 billion ($7.67 billion). Toyota lost 14 per cent of its market value last week.

The National Automobile Dealers Association has said that US dealers could lose as much as $2.47 billion in revenue as Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, halts sales of some models, including Camry sedans.

In Europe, the company recalled Aygo cars produced from February 2005 to August 2009, iQ vehicles made from November 2008 to November 2009 and Yaris cars made from November 2005 to September 2009. Also on the list: Auris, October 2006 to January 5, 2010; Corolla, October 2006 to December 2009; Verso, February 2009 to January 5, 2010; Avensis November 2008 to December 2009; and RAV4 vehicles produced November 2005 to November 2009.

“The potential accelerator pedal issue only occurs in very rare circumstances,” Tadashi Arashima, CEO of Toyota Motor Europe, said January 29 in a statement.

Toyota said yesterday that the European recall may come in at fewer than 1.8 million vehicles as it reviews precise production schedules for the models involved.

The number of cars “might be slightly reduced,” Toyota spokesman Etienne Plas said by telephone. “It definitely won’t go up.”

The January 21 recall in the US applies to model years 2009-2010 RAV4 sport-utility vehicles, 2009-2010 Corolla and 2005-2010 Avalon sedans, 2009-2010 Matrix hatchbacks, 2007-2010 Camrys, 2010 Highlanders, 2007-2010 Tundra pickups and 2008-2010 Sequoia SUVs, according to Toyota.

The Toyota City, Japan-based company has also asked for the return of 5.35 million cars in the US because gas pedals may become stuck under floor mats.