Business

Toyota recalls 270,000 vehicles over faulty engine fear

Lexus LS460 at dealership in Van Nuys, California
Image caption A number of Lexus models are affected by the recall

Toyota is to recall 270,000 cars worldwide - including 138,000 vehicles in the US - because of an engine fault.

Toyota said the recall included seven luxury Lexus models - some of them in the UK - and the popular Toyota Crown.

The latest quality problem follows the recall of more than 8m vehicles which had problems with sticking accelerator pedals earlier this year.

The company was fined $16m (£10.6m) in the United States for its slow response to the accelerator fault.

The company is still facing more than 200 lawsuits tied to accelerator accidents.

Labour disputes

A spokeswoman for the firm said some vehicles might have a problem with the valve spring in their engines, which could cause the car to stall while being driven.

"Due to slight variations during the manufacturing process, some foreign material may have contaminated a small number of the valve springs," the firm said in a statement.

"If a vehicle is affected, there is a remote possibility that abnormal engine noise or idling may occur. In extremely rare instances, the engine may stop while the vehicle is in operation."

The defective 4.6-litre V8 and 3.5-litre V6 engines had been installed in eight top-line models including some hybrids - the Lexus GS350, GS450h, GS460, IS350, LS460, LS600h and LS600hL as well as the Crown sedan.

No accidents had been reported, the spokeswoman said.

Some 90,000 of the affected cars were sold in Japan. Another 180,000 on the roads elsewhere in the world will also be recalled.

Some 3,200 Lexus vehicles in the UK were involved, a spokesperson said, but no Toyotas.

"Lexus will do whatever it can to ensure that our customers' inconvenience is minimised as much as possible, decide on the details of any action, and inform our customers promptly," a company statement said.

Owners with concerns should contact their local dealer.

Car recalls are not uncommon in the car industry, with 227 in the UK alone last year, according to the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.