By: LISA R. WILSON

On Wednesday, Toyota Motor Corp announced it would recall more than 1.35 million Vitz, Belta and Ractis international models to fix a defect in the seatbelt, a component in the exhaust system, or both.

Subject to the recall in Japan are 525,898 Vitz, Belta and Ractis cars built from January 2005 to April 2008, and a combined 830,000 units of the Vitz subcompact and Belta (called Yaris in many markets) exported to Europe, North America and other countries.

The recall started in Japan, where one case of fire was reportedly caused by a faulty seatbelt design, which could cause a noise-absorber device to melt when the seatbelt tensioner is activated in a collision, Toyota said.

The defective exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) pipe, which is being recalled due to a possibility of the pipe cracking and leaking exhaust gases, also originated in Japan, but no accidents have been reported.

Toyota declined to disclose the estimated cost of the recalls.

For more information, or if you own one of these recalled cars, call Toyota at 800-331-4331. For more information on product recalls, visit LawInfo's free legal resource center, or contact a Lead Counsel products liability attorney in your area today.

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