• Kyodo

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Toyota Motor Corp. is considering a global recall of eight models, including its top-of-the-line Lexus LS460 sedan, due to possible engine failure, company officials said Thursday.

Up to about 270,000 cars worldwide, including roughly 90,000 sold in Japan, could be subject to the recall due to fears that in the worst-case scenario the engine could quit while the car is in motion, the officials said.

But Toyota, which is now discussing the matter with the transport ministry, may opt for voluntary repairs rather than a mandatory recall.

A Toyota spokesman said there is no announcement of a recall yet but the automaker recognizes that it needs to decide soon on measures to take.

Apart from the LS460, other Lexus models — the LS600h, LS600hL, GS350, GS450h, GS460 and IS350 — and the Toyota Crown have faulty engines, they said.

Three of the models — the LS460, LS600h and LS600hL hybrids — were recalled in May in Japan because of a steering system defect.

The latest development could be another blow to the company’s efforts to redeem its reputation for quality vehicles through stricter quality control checks. Toyota has had to issue massive recalls or announce voluntary repairs of more than 10 million cars worldwide over such problems as sudden acceleration.

According to the sources, there have been cases in which engines in the affected models produce an unusual sound or suffer unstable idling because of component defects.

The LS460, which has a 4,600cc engine, was first released in 2006 and was partially remodeled last fall.

It was one of four models, including its two hybrid versions, recalled in Japan in late May due to trouble linked to Toyota’s variable gear ratio steering system.

Toyota announced on June 25 that it will recall a different Lexus model — the 2010 version of its luxury hybrid Lexus HS 250h sold in the United States — over concern it could suffer a fuel spill in a collision.

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