Toyota Motor said on Nov. 9 that it will recall about 550,000 units globally, including Lexus models, because of a potentially faulty crankshaft pulley that could cause noise and make steering more difficult.
A Toyota spokeswoman said that the company had logged 79 complaints worldwide over the defect, but the company said it had received no reports of accidents or injuries related to the fault.
The recall includes about 447,000 units in North America and 38,000 in Japan.
Toyota said the recall was due to the possibility that the outer ring of the crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the damper, causing noise or the illumination of an electrical system warning light. If this condition is not corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley and the driver may notice a sudden increase in steering effort, it said.
The affected models include Alphard, Avalon, Camry, Highlander and Sienna as well as Lexus models ES300, ES330, RX300, RX330 and RX400h, the spokeswoman said.
Previously lauded for its safety standards, Toyota became mired in crisis when it recalled nearly nine million vehicles between late 2009 and February 2010 due to brake and accelerator defects, prompting it to expand its global recall policy.
In 2008 Toyota ended General Motors' 77-year reign as the world's largest automaker but since then the Japanese giant has faced the impact of the economic crisis, recalls, a strong yen and the impact on production of natural disasters in Japan and Thailand. Analysts see the automaker losing its crown this year amid strong competition from the General Motors and Volkswagen.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011