Japanese automaker Toyota has announced it is suspending sales of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 after a safety warning by a US consumer magazine. The automaker has recalled millions of cars in the US since late 2009, leaving its reputation in tatters.
AFP - Embattled Japanese automaker Toyota announced Tuesday it was temporarily suspending sales of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 after a safety warning by a respected US consumer magazine.
Consumer Reports gave the sports utility vehicle a rare "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" rating after conducting tests on the car.
When pushed to its limits, the rear of the GX "slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control," the magazine said.
"We believe that in real-world driving, that situation could lead to a rollover accident, which could cause serious injury or death," it added, while cautioning it was not aware of any such reports."
Toyota said it had asked its dealers to "temporarily suspend sales of the 2010 GX 460," but insisted it was "confident that the GX meets our high safety standards."
The automaker has recalled millions of cars in the United States since late 2009, over a series of problems linked to "unintended acceleration."
The recalls have caused an outcry in the United States, with Toyota executives hauled over the coals by Congress and the company's previously stellar reputation for safety left in tatters.
Toyota said it was concerned by the Consumer Reports rating and had not experienced any similar problems in its own tests. It offered to provide a loaner car to concerned GX 460 owners until it identified a remedy.
"For more than 20 years, Lexus has made customer safety and satisfaction our highest priorities. We are taking the situation with the GX 460 very seriously and are determined to identify and correct the issue Consumer Reports identified," Toyota said.
"Our engineering teams are vigorously testing the GX using Consumer Reports' specific parameters to identify how we can make the GX's performance even better."
The company faces a record 16.4 million dollar fine in the United States for hiding dangerous defects in its cars from consumers and watchdogs.
Toyota has been hit with at least 97 lawsuits seeking damages for injury or death linked to sudden acceleration and 138 class action lawsuits from angry customers suing to recoup losses in the resale value of Toyota vehicles following the recalls.
It has also suspended production of some Lexus models in Japan over problems with the breaking system.
Date created : 2010-04-14