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Toyota Halting Lexus SUV Sales Amid Safety Fears

Toyota Halting Lexus SUV Sales Amid Safety Fears

Toyota has asked Lexus dealers to halt sales of the Lexus GX460 because of a 'Don't Buy' warning from Consumer Reports.

Toyota has asked U.S. Lexus dealers to halt sales of the GX 460 SUV after Consumer Reports labeled the model a “safety risk,” the magazine’s first such designation in nine years.

The magazine reported that the GX 460 has handling problems that could cause it to roll over during sharp turns.

Toyota said it has sold about 6,000 of the vehicles since the GX 460 went on sale in late December.

The decision to stop selling the SUV is the latest blow to Toyota’s tarnished safety reputation after the recall of millions of cars and trucks over gas pedals that are too slow to retract or that can become stuck under floor mats. Regulators have proposed a record $16.4 million fine against Toyota, the highest allowed.

The automaker’s U.S. sales fell 16% year-over-year in January and 9% in February before rising 41% in March under unprecedented incentives.

The warning is Toyota’s latest rebuke from Consumer Reports, which in January pulled its “recommended” rating on eight vehicles recalled by the automaker due to faulty gas pedals.

The magazine is seen as an objective voice on auto safety and quality in the North American market and is closely read by many car buyers before choosing a new vehicle.

Consumer Reports said the 2010 Lexus GX 460 was prone to slide when driven in sweeping turns and gave the vehicle a “not acceptable” rating.

The magazine said the problem occurred during runs on its test track, but it also said it is not aware of any reports of the GX 460 rolling over. It tested two separate vehicles, both of which experienced the problem, but neither rolled over.

The GX 460, which starts at about $52,000, is built on the same platform as the Toyota 4Runner. However, Consumer Reports said the problem did not occur during similar tests on the 4Runner.


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