TOKYO, Japan: Toyota has advised the owners of its BZ4X electric SUV to stop driving their vehicles and return them to a dealership, as their wheels could fall off while driving on the road.
In July, Toyota said it would investigate and have the problem corrected once engineers understood why the wheels were coming loose, but has yet to identify the issue, but is offering to buy back the SUVs from unhappy customers.
Some 260 BZ4X owners in the U.S. have been contacted, but there are more who had ordered the SUVs but not yet had them delivered when the "Do not drive" warning was announced.
As well as the buyback option, while it asks owners for their patience, Toyota is also offering customers the free use of another Toyota vehicle until the issue is corrected, as well as $5,000 towards their car payments or as a partial refund of the purchase price.
Toyota is also offering to extend the warranty of vehicles by the amount of time their SUVs are out of service.
The BZ4X is nearly identical to the Subaru Solterra electric SUV, as the two Japanese automakers developed them jointly. However, Subaru did not have to recall any SUVs in the U.S., as none had been delivered before the issue was discovered.
General Motors previously offered to buy back Chevrolet Bolt EVs following reports of battery fires, a case that involved potentially many more vehicles, but Bolt owners were able to continue using their vehicles with certain restrictions.
GM, which eventually discovered the source of the problem and is now replacing batteries in vehicles, has not revealed the number of customers who took advantage of the buy-back offer.