Toyota Motor Corp. announced that it will recall its Lexus GX 460 SUV after Consumer Reports last week warned car shoppers not to buy the SUV because the magazine’s testing results showed the vehicle had a rollover safety risk. The Lexus SUV recall involves about 9,400 vehicles, of which roughly 6,000 are in the U.S.
Toyota said its engineers conducted tests and confirmed the Consumer Reports magazine closed track tests that showed the vehicle’s performance demonstrated sliding before the SUV’s stability control could correct it. Lexus dealers will receive software updates on their vehicle stability control systems by the end of the month to take care of the issue, Toyota said.
“We are confident that this VSC (vehicle stability control) software update addresses the concern,” said Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief quality officer for North America, in a statement.
Consumer Reports “Don’t Buy” warning of the Lexus SUV was based on its independent testing and the tall vehicle’s failure to pass the magazine’s emergency handling test.
The magazine, seen as an objective authority on auto safety, said it found that while running the vehicle on its testing course, the SUV “slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways” before the vehicle’s electronic stability control system regained control. Each of the four magazine test drivers experienced the problem.
In related Toyota news, the Japanese automaker said that it would agree to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) fine of nearly $16.4 million against the manufacturer for failure to notify the auto safety agency of the “sticky pedal” defect, despite it knowing the potential risk to consumers.
“By failing to report known safety problems as it is required to do under the law, Toyota put consumers at risk,” said Secretary LaHood. “I am pleased that Toyota has accepted responsibility for violating its legal obligations to report any defects promptly. We are continuing to investigate whether the company has lived up to all its disclosure obligations.”
The multi-million dollar fine sought against Toyota is the largest civil penalty ever assessed against an auto manufacturer by NHTSA for a single violation. Toyota recalled more than 8 million U.S. vehicles for their vehicle models’ problems including floor mats, sticky gas pedals, slow to return pedal defects, brakes, steering and components.