Page last updated at 07:55 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 08:55 UK

Toyota suspends sales of Lexus GX 460 worldwide

Toyota Lexus GX 460
Versions of the Lexus GX have been on sale in the US since 2002

Toyota has suspended sales of its 2010 Lexus GX 460 worldwide after a US consumer magazine warning and said it would test all of its other SUV models.

The move came a day after it halted Lexus deliveries to the US and Canada in response to concerns by Consumer Reports that it could roll over.

The last time it judged a vehicle's performance unacceptable was in 2001.

Announcing roll-over tests on its other SUV models, the Japanese carmaker said it would not suspend their sales.

The other models include the Land Cruiser, Land Cruiser Prado and Rav4.

Outside the US and Canada, the 2010 Lexus GX 460 is sold only in the Middle East and Russia.

Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki announced the suspension of all 2010 Lexus GX 460 sales in Tokyo.

Earlier, the company said it remained confident its vehicle was safe.

The carmaker has recalled over 8m cars globally due to safety fears over faulty accelerators, floor pedals that stuck in mats and braking issues.

'Injury risk'

Of the 6,000 2010 Lexus GX 460s that have been sold, around 5,400 units were sold in North America, with the rest in the Middle East and Russia, Toyota said.

Mark Templin, vice-president and general manager of the Lexus US division, was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying Lexus would "provide a loaner car for any customer who bought a 2010 GX 460 and is concerned about driving the vehicle".

Consumer Reports, a popular US magazine, said it had judged the Lexus GX 460 a "Don't Buy: Safety Risk" because of a problem experienced during its standard emergency-handling tests.

"When pushed to its limits on our track's handling course, the rear of the GX we bought slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control," it said.

"We believe that in real-world driving, that situation could lead to a roll-over accident, which could cause serious injury or death."

However, it also said that it was not aware of any such reported incidents.

The 2010 Lexus GX 460 has been on sale for about three months in the US and, according to the consumer group, about 5,000 vehicles have been sold.

Versions of the Lexus GX have been on sale in North America since 2002.

Toyota is currently facing a record $16.4m (£10.7m) fine from the US Transport Department for failing to notify it about defective accelerator pedals.

The company must decide by the end of this week whether to challenge the fine.

Mazda recall

Toyota is not the only Japanese car manufacturer facing recall problems, as Mazda Motor Corp announced on Thursday that it would be recalling almost 90,000 of its cars.

Mazda said that because of a faulty oil hose, it would be recalling cars sold in Japan and China, and that a further 191,000 cars may also need to be recalled, although none of these would be in the US.



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