Toyota Recalls Lexus Hybrids for Fuel Leak Problems

In addition to yet another vehicle recall, Toyota is also stopping all sales of its 2010 Lexus HS 250h hybrid vehicles, writes the LATimes. Government tests reveal the vehicle can leak fuel when involved in a rear-end collision. Toyota recalled 17,000 sedans; about 4,000 dealerships are included in the stop sales move, noted the LATimes.

The auto giant also said it was recalling about 13,000 HS sedans which have been sold and another 4,000 that are in dealerships, said the LATimes. No solution to the problem has been determined according to Brian Lyons, Toyota spokesman, wrote the LATimes.

In last week’s recall filing, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said that the problem “could result in a fire.” While a similar problem in Ford Pintos has been linked to 27 deaths and a massive and historic recall back in 1979, Lyons said that Toyota was not aware of incidents or accidents associated with the current Toyota recall, wrote the LATimes. The HS model was introduced late summer, 2009.

Although considered a relatively small recall when compared to Toyota’s over 10 million recall notices that have been issued in the past nine months, this recall is noteworthy because the NHTSA ordered the action after discovering the defect during its own testing, said the LATimes, noting that the problem was not found during Toyota’s testing. Also notable is that a recall of the Lexus GX460, which took place two months ago, was called for after Consumer Reports found a handling problem during its testing, which prompted a recall of about 10,000 sport utility vehicles, said the LATimes.

Toyota Motor Corp. has been plagued with problems involving sticky pedals and defective floor mats, has issued several recalls and been the subject of probes, an historic federal fine, and a Congressional investigation. Recently, we wrote that compounding the ongoing, headline-making news the auto giant has been facing, the world’s largest automaker has been accused of deception by Democratic lawmakers. Recently, Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, issued an apology to shareholders for the auto giant’s recall fiascos, promising a “fresh start.”

About 10 million vehicles have been recalled since late 2009 and Toyota is looking at over $10 billion from lawsuits in the United States. Most recently we wrote that a variety of lawsuits against Toyota were being consolidated in Los Angeles County. The 40 cases, all focused on allegations of sudden acceleration, are pending in a California state court and ordered coordinated before one judge located in Los Angeles. Toyota is looking at over 300 lawsuits in both state and federal Court over issues of alleged and sudden vehicle acceleration. A class-action suit, brought by the Orange County District Attorney, is one of the California state court cases, wrote Reuters previously.

Also included in the California state court cases is the lawsuit brought by the family of a state highway patrol officer who was killed in a crash in which sudden acceleration problems were alleged. In that case, the officer, his wife, his young daughter, and another family member perished in a tragedy that included a 911 call that recorded the family’s desperate pleas and final prayers and moments.

Toyota has also been accused of misleading the public and allowing legal worries to overshadow resolutions to problems with sudden acceleration in some of its vehicles. Toyota maintains that it has been conducting a continuous probe, that it will publicize the results, and that it has repaired over 3.5 million vehicles, to date, said FreeP previously.

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