Saudi recalls 400,000 Toyotas over acceleration concerns

RIYADH (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced the recall of more than 400,000 Toyota cars for alleged problems with unintended acceleration, a statement from the kingdom's ministry of commerce and industry said.

It said the vehicles will be equipped with a break override system to "reduce the risk of sudden unintended acceleration without the ability to stop or control it." The ministry said 10 models, manufactured between 2005 and 2010, would be recalled.

In October, a US court found Toyota was not to blame for a fatal crash involving claims of unintended acceleration, a case that sparked huge global recalls and badly dented the company's reputation for safety.

The safety scare prompted a worldwide recall of millions of cars, the first of a series for Japanese firm, which had previously traded on the safety and reliability of its cars.

Last December, Toyota said it had agreed to pay about US$1.1 billion (S$1.27 billion) to settle a class action lawsuit launched by US vehicle owners affected by the series of mass recalls from the automaker.

The company did not accept any blame but agreed to compensate owners who said the value of about 16.3 million vehicles took a hit from dozens of accidents allegedly caused by Toyota vehicles speeding out of control in 2009.

The deal covered the cost of installing a free brake override system in about 2.7 million vehicles. It also provided cash payments to those who sold cars after the recalls or who owned vehicles ineligible for the override system.