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Toyota Recalling 82,000 Hybrid SUVs

Announcement follows news Toyota’s debt downgraded.

by on Jun.29, 2011

The Lexus RX400h is one of two Toyota hybrid SUVs affected by the latest safety recall.

Toyota will recall more than 82,000 hybrid SUVs sold in the United States due to potential wiring defects.

The news is another setback for the Japanese giant, which has been struggling to regain control over its quality after a series of safety-related problems that led it to recall more than 10 million vehicles last year – and which have spurred a flurry of lawsuits now working their way through the courts.

The new recall comes as the credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Services downgrades Toyota’s debt and warns that the maker’s problems may be serious enough to warrant another downgrade in the coming months.  (Click Here for that story.)

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The latest recall involves 45,500 Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUVs and 36,700 Lexus RX400h hybrid crossovers sold in the U.S. during the 2006 and 2007 model-years.

According to the maker, the hybrids may have computer boards with improperly soldered connections.  Under “high-load” driving conditions those connections could break.  In turn, a vehicle might either operate at reduced power for a short distance or coast to a stop.


Lexus Teases Upcoming LF-Gh Preview

More aggressive design to replace current GS hybrid.

by on Apr.05, 2011

Lexus offers a hint of what's in store when it launches the new LF-Gh Concept at the New York Auto Show.

Lexus is providing a first look at the new hybrid model it plans to introduce at the New York Auto Show, later this month – or, more precisely, a pair of teaser shots that give just a wee hint of what’s in store when Toyota’s luxury brand brings its latest gas-electric model to market.

The name, LF-Gh, we’re told, stands for Lexus Future Grand Touring Hybrid, and indications are this new model could replace the aging GS-450h hybrid that’s been around for half a decade.

What seems certain is that the maker wants to pump a little more passion into a brand that is showing some signs of trouble.  The luxury sales leader in the U.S. market for a number of years, demand has been slipping, in recent months – embarrassingly, Buick outsold Lexus during January and February – and may reflect what critics contend is the plain vanilla nature of much of the Lexus line-up.

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If the front-end close-up is any indication, this latest exercise in the Lexus L-Finesse design language is moving in a more European direction, the hockey stick-like LED driving lights clearly influenced by Audi’s latest offerings.

“Through this exercise,” says the text accompanying the two teaser shots, “the marque’s design philosophy…has been refined and evolved to include a bolder, more distinct projection of what a luxury car could become in a modern world.”