Imported Lexus vehicles dragged into global recall

09:21, February 28, 2011      

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Toyota China will recall more than 5,000 Lexus vehicles imported into China over potential accelerator-pedal problems, China's quality watchdog said over the weekend.

Some 5,202 imported Lexus RX300/350 cars made between February 2003 and July 2006 will be recalled in China due to possible safety hazards, according to Toyota's announcement.

The recall came one day after General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)'s request late last week for an explanation from Toyota, the world biggest auto marker by sales volume, why the company's global recall of 1.7 million vehicles in January didn't initially include China.

"The parts used in the same Toyota model vary from country to country to fit the local environment and geographic conditions … (So), cars sold in China used different parts from those sold in other countries and that's why China was not included in the January's global recall,"Liu Peng, Toyota China spokesman said.

Accelerator-pedal problems may arise when the driver-side floor mat movement obstructs or jams the operation of the accelerator pedal.

If this occurs, the accelerator pedal may become temporarily stuck in a partially depressed position, the announcement said.

Toyota China's Liu told the Global Times that affected Lexus model owners will be notified in early March and Lexus dealers will replace or repair the problem at no charge, starting March 23.

He declined to estimate when all replacement work would be completed.

The time gap between owner notification and actual implementation of the replacement is due to the additional time required to access new parts and train dealer technicians on installation, he said.

Car buyers in China are often the last to gain information from abroad or from AQSIQ on global vehicle recalls, a fact that has left consumers agitated.

Bloggers at autohome.com.cn demanded Toyota treat Chinese consumers equal to their foreign counterparts and called on AQSIQ to fine Toyota over the defects of its cars.

AQSIQ has also been known to be slow in releasing recall information.

Zhong Shi, an independent auto market analyst told the Global Times some criticism should be directed at the legal system, which contains a lot of loopholes.

"If we refine our laws regarding vehicle recalls in China, such disputes could be lessened,"Beijing-based Zhong said.

Source: Global Times
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