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Only four years removed from a global recall campaign that cost Toyota Motor Corp. its status as the worldwide leader in automobile sales, the Japanese manufacturer is probably not enjoying 2012 as much as it would have hoped. While the company found good news in the Prius hybrid joining its Corolla sedan in the Top 3 most popular vehicles in the world, as well as global sales topping 9 million automobiles, Toyota also faced several recalls that included the largest vehicle recall in 16 years and steering defects in the popular Prius vehicles. This week, yet another recall has been announced, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared that approximately 150,000 Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks may have been manufactured with defective lift plates.

Toyota and the NHTSA have confirmed that Tacoma light trucks that were manufactured between August 2000 and August 2004, including model years from 2001 to 2004, may have been built with lift plates that were not properly treated for anti-corrosion. These plates are part of mechanisms in the Tacoma trucks that help lower and raise the spare tire, which is located underneath the vehicle. If not properly treated, a lift plate can rust and corrode, causing it to break and thus separating the spare tire from the truck. This could pose as a serious accident threat if the breakage occurs while a vehicle is moving, as the spare tire can interfere with either that vehicle’s operation or become a dangerous road hazard.

As of this announcement, the recall only affects vehicles sold and registered in colder states where anti-icing salt corrosion is a regular concern, including Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. However, these vehicles could have been moved and/or resold in recent years, so it is important for owners of any 2001-2004 Tacoma trucks to contact Toyota.

Toyota expects to begin the recall in December; however, the company has not yet finalized a plan of correction. Vehicle owners and consumers can contact Toyota at (800) 331-4331 for additional information.