Jul 29, 2010 12:01 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
Toyota is recalling 412,000 passenger cars, mostly the Avalon model, in the U.S. for steering problems in which three accidents have been reported, the automaker said Thursday.
The 373,000 Avalons being recalled range from the 2000 model year through to 2004 and have improper casting of the steering lock bar - a component for the steering system - causing cracks to develop on the surface.
In some cases, the crack can cause the lock bar to break, potentially leading to a crash if the steering wheel locks. No injuries have been reported from the accidents that may have been caused by the defect, Toyota said.
Also being recalled in the U.S. are 39,000 Lexus luxury model LX 470s for the 2003-2007 model years because of a steering shaft problem, which is different from the Avalon steering problem, according to Toyota.
The latest recall comes on top of some 8.5 million vehicles that have been recalled around the world by Toyota Motor Corp. since October for a spate of problems, including faulty floor mats, defective gas pedals and braking software glitches.
The recall crisis has damaged Toyota's reputation for quality and customer service.
Toyota executives have repeatedly vowed to put customers first. But it has been criticized as lagging in its response to quality lapses, and was slapped with a record $16.4 million fine in the United States for responding too slowly when the recall crisis erupted.