Four Lexus Models to be Recalled for Steering Problems

Beleaguered auto giant, Toyota Motor Corporation—the largest global automaker—is readying to implement yet another vehicle recall. This time, writes Business Week, 11,500 Lexus vehicles are being recalled for steering problems. The recall will include Lexus 3,800 in the U.S.

The LS 460, LS 460 L, LS 600h, and LS 600h L are involved in the Toyota recall and follow complaints originating in Japan by consumers there who say the autos’ wheels do not return to the original positions quickly enough following turns, according to Mieko Iwasaki, a Toyota spokeswoman, wrote Business Week. The problem, said Iwasaki, is both software-and mechanically-related, explained Business Week.

Toyota continues to be slammed with recalls, rumors and allegations of delays and cover-ups, and an endless stream of consumer complaints and accidents. Most recently we wrote about news that the auto giant allegedly delayed a recall for nearly one year in 2005. According to USA Today previously, Toyota waited 11 months after issuing a recall for trucks in Japan before recalling about one million of the same vehicles in the United States. That recall involved a steering defect.

Needless to say, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is curious about what led the carmaker to wait almost one year before issuing the recall in this country and said it initiated an investigation into the gap, said USA Today. The recall in Japan took place in October 2004; the U.S. recall, involving 977,839 similar vehicles, took place September 2005.

Although it has not yet determined the timing, the NHTSA has reports of three deaths and seven injuries linked to the faulty steering rods on 4Runner SUVs and T100 and Hi Lux compact pickups, which involve 1989 to 1998 models, said USA Today.

Toyota has been plagued with problems surrounding sticky pedals, has been the subject of months of recalls and probes, an historic NHTSA fine, and a Congressional probe. Most recently, Consumer Reports magazine lifted rare warnings issued on the 2010 Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV that followed a failed emergency handling test linked to a glitch in its electronic stability control system software; 10,000 SUVs were recalled.

The company also just issued a recall to fix a spare tire carrier cable on 600,000 Sienna minivans and just agreed to pay the record $16.375 million fine for concealing information related to a January recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticky accelerator pedals. Automakers must inform U.S. safety regulators within five days if they determine a safety defect exists. According to an April 5 letter from the NHTSA to Toyota, documents obtained from Toyota show that the company knew of the sticky pedal defect since at least September 29, 2009.

Toyota also recently added 50,000 more cars to its ever-growing list of recalls; this time, 50,000 2003-model year Sequoia SUVs, to correct a traction control problem, which concerns defects in the vehicle’s electronic control sensors, explained, a “key point of contention” in Toyota’s ongoing sudden acceleration scandal that has involved thousands of cases. The NHTSA has been investigating issues with Toyota for two years following 68 complaints last year from vehicle owners.

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