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Lexus SUV Sales Halted After Consumer Reports "Don't Buy" Warning

Posted by Jane Akre
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 10:47 AM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Toyota, Unintended Acceleration, NHTSA, Rhonda Smith, Sticking Gas Pedals, Recall, Prius, Tundra, Lexus, Highlander, Class-Action

Toyota is halting sales of the Lexus GX460 after Consumer Reports tests found it unstable.

Safety Risk

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IMAGE SOURCE: Lexus GX460/ NY Daily News Web site

It’s only happened once before in ten years.

The reputable consumer group, Consumer Reports (CR), is warning U.S. consumers against buying one of Toyota’s newest SUV models because of stability problems.

CR on Tuesday issued a “Don’t Buy” caution about the $52,000 Toyota Lexus GX 460.

This is just the latest problem for the embattled Japanese automaker. The Lexus GX460 4x4 was produced in December and sent to dealers in January.

So far, 6,000 have been sold. Dealers are being told not to sell the vehicle. The warning concerns only the 2010 GX460 and not previous years, says Consumer Reports.

The Problem

The problem – the vehicle can roll over during sharp turns because it has handling problems.

"When pushed to its limits on a handling course on CR's test track, the rear of the GX CR purchased slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control," Consumer Reports said.

Toyota Motor Corp. is temporarily suspending sales of the GX 460 and has relayed that to Lexus dealers.

The 4Runner is built on the same platform but does not have the same problem. Neither did 95 other SUVs tested.

The consumer group has alerted Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of its findings, reports Market Watch.

Toyota vows to try to duplicate the CR test to determine if appropriate steps need to be taken. It has already faced the recall of 8.5 million vehicles for unintended accelerating the sticking brake pedals.

Last week Toyota was fined $16.4 million for taking its time in alerting customers and initiating safety recalls. The transportation secretary calls Toyota “safety deaf” and warns the company is likely facing further fines.

The last time CR issued a “Don’t Buy” warning over a safety hazard was over the Mitsubishi Montero in 2001. #


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