Toyota Recalls Lexus GX 460 SUV For Stability Fix

Toyota is recalling its new Lexus GX 460 SUV to fix a problem with its stability control system. The recall follows last week’s decision by Consumer Reports to give the Lexus GX 460 an “unacceptable” rating.

The recall also includes the Land Cruiser Prado, which is sold overseas. A total of 34,000 vehicles are being recalled worldwide, 9,400 of which are in the U.S.

According to Toyota, a software update for the GX 460 SUV will be available from Lexus dealers by the end of the month. The repair should take about an hour. Loaner cars are available for owners of Lexus GX 460 SUVs who don’t want to drive their vehicle while they wait for the fix.

Consumer Reports issued the rare “not acceptable” rating last Tuesday, after its tests determined that the GX 460 SUV was prone to slide when driven in sweeping turns. According to the report, this could cause rollover accidents resulting in serious injury or death. Ideally, the vehicle’s electronic stability control system would stop such a slide. The publication advised consumers not to buy the Lexus GX 460.

The “not acceptable” rating is extremely rare. In fact, the last time Consumer Reports concluded that a vehicle was “not acceptable” for consumers to buy was in 2001.

Hours after news of the Consumer Reports rating broke, Toyota announced it was suspending sales of the Lexus GX 460. Yesterday, the automaker said it was able to confirm the stability control issue raised by Consumer Reports.

The recall could not come at a worse time for Toyota. Since last fall it has recalled more than 9 million cars worldwide because of faulty floor mats, sticking accelerator pedals, brake issues and other problems. Just last Friday, the company issued a recall to fix a spare tire carrier cable on 600,000 Sienna minivans.

Yesterday, Toyota agreed to pay a record $16.375 million fine levied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for concealing information related to a January recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticky accelerator pedals. Automakers are required to inform U.S. safety regulators within five days if they determine a safety defect exists. However, 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.

The $16.375 million fine was the largest ever levied against an automaker by the U.S. government. In a statement, Toyota said it disagreed with the fine, but decided to pay it to avoid litigation with the government.

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