Toyota recall over engine flaws

Recalls of up to 270,000 vehicles is latest quality lapse to hit world's top carmaker.

    The latest Toyota recall will include the Lexus and Crown luxury models [EPA]

    The Japanese company has been plagued by safety problems since September, and has recalled about 8 million cars worldwide to fix faulty parts.

    Complaints

    In its announcement on Friday the company said it received about 200 complaints over faulty engines in Japan but no accidents were reported there or abroad.

    Toyota has faced criticism and fines over its handling of recent recalls [Reuters]

    Some drivers also reported engines making an unusual noise.

    Toyota's announcement comes as it looks to improve its recall procedures following heavy criticism of the way it handled safety issues in the US that have been blamed for more than 80 deaths.

    Japan's major daily Asahi said on Friday the latest recall of 270,000 vehicles could cost Toyota around 20 billion yen ($227m).

    Paul Nolasco, a Toyota spokesman, said the recall starting Monday would involve 90,000 vehicles including seven luxury Lexus sedan models as well as the popular Crown.

    Toyota has been scrambling to repair its dented reputation after 8.5 million vehicles were recalled beginning in October because of problems with sticking accelerator pedals and other issues.

    The company was slapped with a record $16.4m fine in the United States for acting too slowly to recall vehicles with defects.

    Legal action

    Toyota dealers have repaired millions of vehicles following the massive global recalls, but the carmaker still faces more than 200 lawsuits tied to accidents, the lower resale value of Toyota vehicles, and the drop in the company's stock.

    The company last week said it would recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after tests showed that fuel could spill during a rear-end crash.

    A US government probe into what caused some of Toyota's vehicles to suddenly accelerate is expected to be completed by late August.

    Officials were also investigating whether Toyota waited nearly a year in 2005 to recall trucks and SUVs in the US with defective steering rods, a case that could lead to additional fines.

    Toyota returned to the black in the fiscal year ended March and forecast surging profits despite the millions of recalls that it estimated would cost 180 billion yen ($2bn) for the period.

    Shares in the automaker were flat in Tokyo morning trade on Friday.

    Ryoichi Saito, an auto analyst from Mizuho Investors Securities Co Ltd, said the latest recall was unlikely to hurt Toyota.

    "It is clear that Toyota has learned a lesson from the recall disaster," Saito told The Associated Press. "The company has acted very swiftly to deal with problems."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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