NAGOYA – Toyota Motor Corp. plans to voluntarily modify some 6,000 Lexus GX 460 sport utility vehicles in North America and other parts of the world, sources said Thursday.
The carmaker suspended sales of the model worldwide after the U.S. magazine Consumer Reports said earlier this week the vehicle is at risk of rolling during high-speed turns.
Toyota claims not to have discovered any problems with the SUV that could be construed as violations but decided to take swift action to put priority on safety, the sources said.
The company has started testing the SUV to see if the magazine’s findings can be replicated.
A Toyota executive said the company considers any delay in problem responses “fatal” as it tries to regain consumer trust in the wake of massive global recalls.
The reaction could mean Toyota has learned a lesson from the recalls, an industry source said. After failing to act quickly on earlier problems linked to sudden acceleration, Toyota was pushed into issuing massive global recalls and drew fire for its late response.
The company is expected to modify the SUV’s electronic control system, which is responsible for stabilizing the vehicle when it is running, the sources said.
The measures are not mandated under a U.S. law that requires manufacturers to collect potentially defective products and fix them for free.
Toyota is conducting a study to determine whether similar steps should be taken regarding the Land Cruiser Prado, which is sold in Japan and has the same structure as the Lexus SUV.
Toyota launched the 4.6-liter Lexus GX 460 in the United States late last year. Some 6,000 have been sold in North America, the Middle East, Russia and Oceania, but not in Japan.
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