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Fri, Nov 30, 2007 - Page 10 News List

Toyota starts recall of 264,000 Japan-made Lexus cars

AP AND AFP , TOKYO AND SAN FRANCISCO

Toyota yesterday began recalling 264,000 luxury passenger vehicles over faulty fuel pipes, including 49,000 flagship Lexus cars sold overseas, the company said.

Included in the recall are Lexus models produced in Japan in 2005 and sold overseas, and Lexus, Mark X, and Crown models sold in Japan, Toyota Motor Corp spokeswoman Yoshie Matsuura said.

Faulty fuel pipe design on the recalled models could cause cracks and corrosion and lead to a fuel leak, a notice filed with the Japanese transport ministry said.

In the US, 26,274 Lexus GS300, 5,429 Lexus IS250, and 2,640 Lexus IS350 vehicles are being recalled, Matsuura said.

The recalled models were exported from Japan, she said, adding that the same models were also being recalled in Canada, England and Germany.

There have been 39 cases of trouble within Japan but no reports of injuries, the transport ministry said. It was not immediately clear whether any problems have been reported elsewhere.

The Japanese automaker has been hit with quality control problems in recent years as it ramps up production to meet booming demand. Toyota has promised to beef up quality checks.

Meanwhile, US auto giant Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday it had reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit lodged by people claiming the company's popular Explorer vehicle was prone to rollovers.

A spokeswoman for Ford refused to give details of the settlement in an e-mailed statement to Agence-France Presses, saying more information would be revealed when the deal is presented before a judge in Sacramento on Monday.

"For the reasons that will be presented in court on Monday, we believe this settlement is fair and reasonable and is in the best interests of our customers and our shareholders," the spokeswoman said.

Approximately 1 million people in four states -- California, Connecticut, Illinois and Texas -- had filed suit asserting that Explorers made between 1991 and 2001 were liable to rollover.

Ford has battled a wave of wrongful death and injury lawsuits following accidents involving older models of the Explorer, regarded as Ford's flagship sports utility vehicle.

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