Toyota recalls 50,220 SUVs for seat belt problem

DETROIT Fri May 23, 2014 1:43pm EDT

The signboard of the national headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales USA, is seen in Torrance, California April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

The signboard of the national headquarters of Toyota Motor Sales USA, is seen in Torrance, California April 28, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Kevork Djansezian

DETROIT (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) is recalling an estimated 50,220 Highlander sport utility vehicles globally, most in the United States, for a software problem that could result in the front passenger seat belt not working properly.

The Japanese automaker said it was recalling the Highlander and Highlander hybrid SUVs from model year 2014 to update software in the air bag system that controls how the size of the front-seat passenger is read.

A company spokeswoman said the air bag electronic control unit's software is reading all passengers, regardless of their actual size, as small occupants. That could result in the front passenger not being protected by the seat belt with the necessary force, possibly resulting in injury in a crash.

No reports of accidents, injuries or deaths related to this issue have been received by Toyota.

The company will update the software in the air bag electronic control unit.

Of the recalled SUVs, about 45,500 were sold in the United States, about 3,400 in Canada, about 1,300 in Mexico and about 20 in Germany, the spokeswoman said on Friday.

On Thursday, Toyota recalled 466,000 vehicles globally, most in the United States, for possible faulty brakes and loss of a spare tire.

(The Company officially corrects that the defect could result in the seat belt not working properly, instead of air bag not working properly.)

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)

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