Toyota to Recall 270,000 Lexus Cars

Another wham-o for the world’s biggest car company. On top of the nearly 9 million cars already brought back, Toyota has announced it will recall about 270,000 cars (specifically the GS 350, GS 450h, GS 460, IS 350, LS 460 and LS 600hL), plus the Toyota Crown (not sold in the U.S.). About 137,000 U.S. cars are affected.

Those who follow such things will note that the hybrid Lexus HS 250h got a safety recall last week—17,000 cars—for possible fuel leakage in a crash. Sales were suspended. Further, the L.A. Times tells us that:

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.

Reasons were not stated, but these problems more and more seem to resemble an epidemic.

The problem in the latest recall is faulty valve springs “made from low-quality metal” that could crack, causing the engine possibly to stall or make “abnormal idling or engine noise,” said a Toyota spokesman.

This will not be an easy fix, since these engines use overhead cams, and the valve springs will have to be replaced by removing the camshafts, so it seems (image at right of an IS 350 engine). You won’t be in and out of the shop quickly.

Engine repairs, according to LeftLane, will run about $844 per vehicle (or $228 million total), not including other costs, like rental car agreements and other “damage control measures.”

The latter are likely to be substantial, when you factor in the effect that this recall will have on customers and sales. Toyota’s market share continues to decline, and the company just announced that its annual summer clearance sale will begin in July, a month before the traditional August event.

We know there are lots of Toyota lovers out there. Does this latest recall do anything to dampen your loyalty to the firm and its products?

—jgoods

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Lexus GS 350
Used Lexus GS 450h
Used Lexus IS 350
Used Lexus LS 460
Used Lexus LS 600hL
Used Lexus HS 250h

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  1. krislou80
    August 4th, 2010 at 22:20 | #1

    Toyota is not the only vehicle with this problem.My 03 Chevrolet did it. The mechanic said it was the idle control valve in the fuel injection. I have been told of BMWs (by a certified BMW mechanic) doing this for the same reason. The blame in these cases, from the guys that fix them, is cruddy gas coking the innards of the FI system.
    If the fault is in the engine control module, does this software have to be validated in the same way that it is with software controlled medical devices?

  2. randy
    July 6th, 2010 at 08:04 | #2

    Don’t forget the massive costs to spin doctor Toyota’s quality problems through advertising. It’s really a waste of money, just like BP’s ad campaign, which just makes people more angry.

    Don’t look for these kinds of problems to abate, either. This is a consequence of the massive reliance on outside suppliers, which makes it very difficult to control quality. For some strange reason, companies like GM and Toyota use their buying power to bludgeon suppliers to keep lowering prices (even when their costs go up) and then blame the suppliers when quality fails.

  3. Jay Sicht
    July 2nd, 2010 at 13:19 | #3

    I do not own a Toyota and haven’t before. My brother, who was a salesman at a Toyota dealership 10 years ago or so, remains a diehard fan, though, and I have seen nothing to suggest Toyota has low quality.

    This recall, if anything, simply shows that Toyota realizes there is a problem and is standing behind their engines in offering a remedy. If only Chrysler would have done the same for its problematic 2.7, GM the same for its early rear-disc brake caliper problems on “W”-body cars, Ford for its heat-soak plagued distributor TFI modules, etc.

    Admission of a problem is not a weakness; it’s a strength. Having worked in the automotive aftermarket one way or another the past 15 years, I cannot say Toyota stands head-and-shoulders above any one brand, nor can I say it is much worse. Even before the recent throttle investigation, though, the company impressed me by standing behind certain engines that were sludging up and failing, even when it wasn’t clear motorists were observing proper oil change intervals. I believe that was eight or ten years ago.

  4. July 2nd, 2010 at 13:13 | #4

    I used to like Toyota. i still like their old cars, supras and old pick-ups, but will all the recalls lately its getting extreme and i would never buy a Toyota. not a new one at least.

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