TOKYO (Reuters) -Shares of Toyota Motor Corp and Subaru Corp dropped on Friday after the two Japanese car makers announced recalls of their first mass-produced electric vehicles (EV) for the global market because of a risk the wheels could come loose.
The recall by Toyota of 2,700 units of the bZ4X SUVs, rolled out less than two months ago in Japan, is a setback to the world’s largest automaker by sales, as it seeks to take on larger EV rival Tesla Inc.
A Toyota spokesperson said on Thursday not every model was subject to the recall but declined to say how many it has built overall.
Subaru, in which Toyota has a nearly 20% stake, also said it was recalling globally about 2,600 units of the Solterra, its first all-electric vehicle jointly developed with its top shareholder.
Japan’s safety regulator said sharp turns and sudden braking could cause a hub bolt to loosen, raising the risk of a wheel coming off the vehicle. It said it was not aware of any accidents being caused by the defect.
Subaru shares slumped nearly 5% and Toyota’s were down 1.6%.
Once a favourite with environmentalists for its popular hybrid Prius model, Toyota has come under fire for not acting quickly enough to phase out gasoline-powered cars and its lobbying on climate policy.
The company has repeatedly pushed back against the criticism, arguing the necessity to offer a variety of powertrains to suit different markets and customers.
Gasoline-electric hybrid models remain far more popular in Toyota’s home market than EVs, which accounted for just 1% of passenger cars sold in Japan last year, based on industry data.
(Reporting by Tokyo bureau; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sam Holmes)