Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) is no stranger to recalls. The difference this time is people aren’t dying. The similarities, however, largely remain the same. The suggestion that driver error wasn’t responsible for a large part of the crashes that caused Toyota’s stock to slip and market share to drop off overnight is folly. There have even been considerably more nefarious claims of a “Detroit Conspiracy” and reasonable claims that numerous Toyota owners joined a class-action suit where they were wholly at fault. Either way, Toyota and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201) announced the recall of around 1.5 million automobiles between them, with Toyota recalling 694,000 Sienna minivans in North America that like to roll away when parked.

Toyota Logo

The announcement came yesterday, the same day that Hyundai Motor Co. recalled another 760,000 vehicles in North America to address brake light problems.

Toyota Motors’ recall

For Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203), the recall involves Siennas from the 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 model years.

Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) said Thursday that the shift locking device can potentially be damaged. If that happens, the minivans can shift out of park even if the driver isn’t depressing the brake pedal. Toyota said it has gotten reports of 21 accidents and 2 injuries related to the problem. Owners will be notified of the recall by mail. Dealers will replace the shift-lock device for free.

Problems with Toyota shift lever

Vehicles are required to have shift interlocks that prevent them from being shifted out of park unless the brake pedal is depressed. Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) said the same shift lever assembly is used on 2006-2009 Lexus RX vehicles, but no incidents have been reported and the shift lever is in a different place.

One could read that as: American and Canadian obesity has large legs shifting the cars out of park as they exit the vehicle, since drivers move their legs to the right to avoid the steering wheel that effectively traps drivers in their cars.

The Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) (TYO:7203) recall includes 615,000 vehicles in the United States, 56,000 in Canada and 23,000 in Mexico.

Hyundai’s callback

Hyundai is calling back another 650,000 vehicles in the United States and 110,000 in Canada for brake light problems, after Hyundai and its corporate affiliate Kia Motors recalled about 2 million vehicles in March to address the electrical issue.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201)’s problems seem to be potentially the most serious for non-American drivers.

Nissan’s defective accelerator sensors

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (ADR) (OTCMKTS:NSANY) (TYO:7201) recalled 908,900 vehicles around the world Thursday for defective accelerator sensors that could cause the engine to stall. The recall affects the Serena minivan, Infiniti M luxury model, X-trail sport utility vehicle and other models, the automaker said. No accidents have been reported related to the problem. Most of the vehicles being recalled are in Japan. Others are in North America, Europe and Oceania, Yokohama-based Nissan said. The sensors, manufactured in Japan, can malfunction, causing the vehicle to slow down and, at times, stop, the company  said.