• Toyota is recalling more than 200,000 2011-2012 Sienna minivans for defective labeling.
  • The automaker says labels inside the driver's doorjamb list incorrect weight capacities.
  • Toyota will mail new labels and owner's manuals to drivers of affected vehicles.

 

Toyota is recalling more than 200,000 Sienna minivans for defective labeling. According to the automaker, labels located inside the driver's door jamb on many 2011 and 2012 models are incorrectly printed, and provide incorrect information about the van's weight capacity and load limits.

While misprinted labels may not seem like a major flaw, the government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that drivers abiding by the incorrect labels may overload their minivans. According to the NHTSA, that could lead to tire failure, greatly increasing the risk of an accident. The recall was sparked after NHTSA tests conducted earlier this year determined that the Sienna did not meet the standards listed on the label.

Although Toyota hasn't provided an official start date for the recall, the automaker announced affected drivers won't need to bring in their minivans for service. Instead, Toyota will mail out corrected placards and a revised owner's manual to Sienna drivers with the defective labels. Sienna drivers with questions are encouraged to call the NHTSA's safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or Toyota at 800-331-4331.

Despite the recall, the Sienna has enjoyed an impressive 2011, recording nearly 92,000 sales through the end of November - an increase of more than 13 percent compared to the same point in 2010.  

But the Sienna's success remains a high point in an otherwise dismal year for Toyota, who suffered massive production cuts and supply issues since the major earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March. So far this year, Toyota brand sales are down nearly 8 percent compared to 2010, while the automaker's upscale Lexus brand is down more than 16 percent. Only youth-oriented Scion posted a sales gain through 2011, led by a full redesign of the brand's sporty tC coupe.

What it means to you

Toyota is appropriately cautious about vehicle safety following its highly-publicized accelerator pedal issues in 2009.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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