Toyota Motor has began recalling more than 91,000 vehicles in Japan because of an engine defect affecting its luxury Lexus range and Crown sedans, the latest in a string of recalls hitting the company. The car maker submitted a report to the transport ministry for the recall of 91,903 units, part of a global recall announced last week that involves 270,000 vehicles worldwide including about 138,000 in the United States.
The car maker said it received 220 complaints in Japan but no accidents nor injuries were reported. It warned that a faulty valve spring could cause abnormal engine noise and possible malfunction, stopping entirely in a worst case scenario. Toyota has pulled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year, mostly because of acceleration problems. The company's latest announcement comes as it looks to improve its recall process following heavy criticism of the way it handled safety issues in the United States that have been blamed for more than 80 deaths.
The beleaguered automaker said defective 4.6-litre V8 and 3.5-litre V6 engines were installed in eight models including some hybrids - the Lexus GS350, GS450h, GS460, IS350, LS460, LS600h and LS600hL as well as Crown sedans. The models were built in 2005-2008. In April the automaker recalled 6,000 Lexus sports utility vehicles in the US because of potential stability problems after a consumer magazine slapped them with a "Don't Buy" rating.
In May, it announced a recall of 11,500 other Lexus vehicles over steering issues. The company is looking to improve its recall process following heavy criticism of the way it handled safety issues in the US that have been blamed for more than 80 deaths. The Toyota president Akio Toyoda in June apologised to shareholders for the recall crisis, saying he thought he might have to resign when he was hauled before a US congressional hearing in February.