The company plans to recall 7,000 vehicles overseas (including 3,800 in the U.S.) and 4,500 units in Japan, according to Mieko Iwasaki, a spokeswoman for the carmaker. The models in question were sold in the United States, Europe and China as well as Japan.
There are four Lexus models involved in the recall action: the LS460, LS 460 L, LS 600h and LS 600h L. The reason for this action is steering-related, with Toyota having received complaints in Japan about wheels not returning to original positions fast enough after making turns.
The Toyota spokeswoman stated that the problem is both mechanical and software-related. The move is the latest in a series of recalls and incidents that have challenged Toyota's reputation for quality. The Japanese automaker has recalled more than eight million Toyota and Lexus vehicles worldwide in 2009 and this year, including 6.5 million in the United States, the most common issue being unintended acceleration.
On Tuesday, Toyota paid a $16.4 million fine to settle allegations by U.S. regulators that it was too slow to recall vehicles with defective accelerator pedals.
In a separate incident, Toyota announced it has repaired about 13,000 GX 460 SUVs, including 9,400 in the U.S. and the rest in countries including Russia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Canada. The Lexus LS is a full-size luxury sedan that has been in production since 1989. Launched in 2006, the current generation is a rival for the Mercedes-Bens S-Klasse, the BMW 7 Series and the Audi A8.