In the latest news of vehicle safety concerns, the Los Angeles Times reported that Toyota announced the recall of 412,000 Avalon and Lexus vehicles for steering problems. This means that since October, nearly 9 million cars have been subject to product recalls around the world. This is almost as many vehicles as were sold by all manufacturers in the United States last year. Because of the product recalls and product safety violations, Toyota faces hundreds of product liability lawsuits arising from its problems with sudden acceleration and sticking gas pedals. Additionally, it has been the target of extreme scrutiny by federal safety regulators and the United States Congress.
The 373,000 recalled Avalons, dating from between 2000 and 2004, have improperly cast steering lock bars. These steering lock bars have been a factor in three accidents reported to the Toyota company. The problem occurs like this: a minute crack can develop on the surface, which in turn, can break the bar and lock the steering wheel, increasing the risk of an automobile accident. As opposed to the several hundred thousand Avalons, a smaller number of Lexus model vehicles from 2003 through 2007 have a different steering shaft problem. Luckily, no personal injuries have been reported related to the Lexus issue. Additionally, Toyota says it will recall 80,000 Land Cruisers for another problem involving faulty steering shafts. Toyota plans to replace the steering column bracket on the recalled vehicles, a product procedure that takes nearly two hours to complete. Toyota has announced that it would notify owners by first class mail beginning in late this month to take their vehicles to a dealer to have the work done at no charge.
More information on the Toyota recall is available at Los Angeles Times.