Toyota Motor announced it would recall 270,000 vehicles worldwide because of an engine fault affecting cars, including its luxury Lexus range and Crown sedans, in the latest blow to its reputation.
The worlds largest automaker said faulty valve springs in certain engines could potentially lead to affected vehicles stopping while in operation.
It plans to submit a recall notice to Japan's transport ministry on July 5, with the latest action affecting 90,000 units in Japan and 180,000 overseas, most of them in the U.S.
The recall is due to defective parts of valve springs, which may result in abnormal noise or idling. In a worst case, the engine could stop, said Toyota spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi.
Toyota has been hit by a series of safety recalls and has pulled around 10 million vehicles worldwide since late last year, mostly due to acceleration problems.
Toyotas latest announcement comes as the company 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.
Company president Akio Toyoda in June apologized to shareholders for the recall crisis, saying he thought he might have to resign when he was hauled before a U.S. congressional hearing in February.
Toyota Motor Sales USA said about 137,000 of the 180,000 units abroad would be recalled in the United States and advised customers to contact their local dealer.
The beleaguered automaker said that defective 4.6-litre V8 and 3.5-litre V6 engines were installed in eight models including some hybrids, such as the Lexus GS350, GS450h, GS460, IS350, LS460, LS600h and LS600hL, as well as Crown sedans. Toyota said it had not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to the fault.
While smaller than earlier recalls, the fact that the latest problem affects Toyotas luxury Lexus brand is another serious blow to the companys already battered reputation, said Tatsuya Mizuno, analyst at Mizuno Credit Advisory.
It has renewed uncertainties surrounding the company, he said.
The recall may bring a psychological impact as this has happened to its most luxurious models, which Toyota offered to customers with full confidence.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010