NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said it was recalling 1.33 million Corolla and Matrix vehicles on Thursday, citing problems in engines' electronic control units that have allegedly led to three accidents.
The Japanese automaker said the recall would affect 1.13 million 2005-2008 models in the United States and 200,000 in Canada.
The company said that in two-wheel drive vehicles with the 1ZZ-FE engine, the Engine Control Module's circuit board can crack and cause "harsh shifting" and may prevent the engine from starting.
In some cases, the engine can stop while the vehicle is being driven, the company said.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened a "preliminary investigation" into this problem at the end of November, and upgraded it last week to a more thorough type of investigation.
The NHTSA documents revealed that the government agency and Toyota have received as many as 1,100 complaints of engine stalling, including six cases that involved crashes or fires.
Toyota said that there are three unconfirmed accidents that are allegedly related to the condition, and one of them has resulted in a minor injury.
The auotmaker will notify owners when parts to replace the Engine Control Modules are available. Toyota will complete the repair at no charge. Owners who have already paid for the replacement of the Engine Control Module to address this problem can get reimbursed.
"This recall is an example of our commitment to standing by our products and being responsive to our customers," said Toyota's chief quality officer Steve St. Angelo in a statement. "Our goals is to help ensure that Toyota drivers are completely confident in the safety and reliability of their vehicles."
Last month, Toyota recalled more than 400,000 older-model vehicles for a steering problem.
The company has been undertaking a massive effort to rebuild its image in the wake of a number of quality and safety problems that came to light earlier this year. In recent months, the automaker has recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of safety issues, including possible unintended acceleration and problems with anti-lock brake software.
Shares of Toyota Motors (TM), which have slipped more than 18% this year, were down 0.1% in late afternoon trading.
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