Toyota reveals Lexus engine troubles

Times staff and wire reports

Toyota Motor Corp. said in Japan on Thursday that about 270,000 vehicles sold worldwide, including luxury Lexus sedans, have faulty engines that could cause them to possibly stall while in motion.

Toyota said there have been no reports of accidents linked to the faulty engines. It did not say how it learned about the engine troubles, or if it planned to recall the vehicles.

U.S. Toyota spokesman Mike Michels said, “We are aware of the report and we are checking into it, but there is nothing that we have to announce at the moment.”

As many as seven Lexus models may be affected, said Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi in Tokyo.


The models are the Lexus GS 350, GS 450h, GS 460, IS 350, LS 460, LS 600h and LS 600h L, plus the Toyota Crown. About 90,000 of the vehicles that could be affected were sold in Japan, with the rest in other countries.

Takeuchi said the company is considering the next step to address the problem.

Japan’s top business daily, Nikkei, and the Kyodo News agency reported Thursday that Toyota may recall tens of thousands of the Lexus LS 460 model.

The number of the cars involved is small compared with the roughly 8 million Toyota vehicles that have been recalled because of the possibility of sudden, unintended acceleration. But a recall because of engine problems could the further damage the company’s reputation, said Satoru Takada, an analyst in Tokyo with TIW.

“If Toyota decides to recall the models,” he said, “concern that customers may avoid the Toyota brand is bigger than the potential cost of the recall.”