Toyota fire investigation expanded

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DETROIT — The government has expanded an investigation into fires that can start in the doors of several Toyota models, adding 600,000 Camrys and other vehicles to the probe.

The investigation now includes 1.4 million cars and SUVs from the 2007 to 2009 model years. Certain Cam­rys from 2008 and 2009, some 2007 to 2009 Yaris subcompacts and all 2008 Highlander Hybrid SUVs, have been added, the Na­tion­al Highway Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tration said Mon­day.

So far, Toyota and the government have received 161 complaints of fires. Nine people have been hurt, according to documents.

All the vehicles use the same power window switch in the driver’s door. The switches can overheat and cause fires, the government said. NHTSA has upgraded the investigation to an engineering analysis, which can lead to a recall.

Owners of the Toyotas who smell smoke or feel heat in the doors should call their dealers or take them in for an inspection, Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said. The company is cooperating in the investigation, he said.

Toyota’s Camry midsize sedan is the most popular car in the U.S. In December, the 2012 Camry received a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA, the agency’s highest.

Federal safety regulators are investigating a similar fire problem in doors of 2006 and 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SUVs made by General Motors. NHTSA and GM have received 242 complaints, including 28 fires. No one has been hurt.

The Toyota and GM problems appear to be unrelated, NHTSA said.


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