The UAE has asked Japanese automaker Toyota to recall 3,120 vehicles as part of a global campaign to fix potentially lethal accelerator problems, according to a news report.
Mohammed Badri, acting director-general of ESMA -- official body governing quality and standards in the UAE -- met Toyota executives on Sunday and initiated the recall as a precaution.
Dealers have time till April to complete the recall, he told The National, a local newspaper.
"We told them that you have to call one by one all the people that you have sold to and try to co-ordinate with them, in a timely way, to bring in the cars and do the modification, and give them back," Badri said.
Toyota Motor recently announced plans to recall millions of its vehicles worldwide after reports of cars suddenly speeding up without the drivers pressing the accelerator.
The problem has been linked to at least 19 deaths in the past decade.
Although the problem occurs mainly in cold climates, Badri said the recall was necessary in the UAE because in some areas temperatures could drop below freezing point.
"We don't want just to issue the recall, we want to make sure that [the problems] will not happen to make sure these problems are not occurring, and not to wait after the problems occurred," he added.
The Toyota vehicles affected in the UAE comprise Avalon sedan sold from 2005-2010, and the the Sequoia sport utility vehicle, sold in 2009-2010.
These are two of the eight Toyota models recalled worldwide. The official distributor of Toyota vehicles in the UAE -- Al Futtaim Motors managing director Simon Frith told the newspaper that owners of Avalons and Sequoias in the United Arab Emirates were unlikely to experience the same technical faults due to warm climate.
However, on February 1, Al Futtaim Motors decided to launch a service campaign to call up the owners of the affected cars for inspection and possible repair.
"It didn't really matter if it was less likely to be an issue here because of the climactic conditions, we wanted to put in the same resolution for our customers as everybody else is getting to give them complete peace of mind," Frith said.
The parts needed for the repairs will be arriving at Al-Futtaim in the next few days, and free repairs will be available to UAE car owners from February 24.