Toyota Recalling 480,000 Vehicles for Steering Flaws

Toyota Motor Corp. said it’s preparing a global recall of about 480,000 Avalon sedans and Land Cruiser sport-utility vehicles to repair steering parts that may be defective.

About 400,000 U.S.-built Avalons have a steering-column bracket that can fail and cause the steering wheel to lock up, Toyota said yesterday. The Avalons were built between 2000 through 2004 and include 373,000 in the U.S., as well as versions sold in Japan, Canada, China and Saudi Arabia.

Toyota also said it will recall 80,000 Land Cruisers for another problem involving steering shafts. The world’s largest automaker is working to improve quality following global recalls of more than 8 million cars and light trucks for defects linked to unintended acceleration. In the U.S., those recalls prompted congressional hearings and a record $16.4 million fine.

“Toyota now seems to be very much erring on the side of disclosing everything in terms of defects,” said Ed Kim, an analyst at researcher AutoPacific Inc. in Tustin, California. “That’s good, but the more problems and recalls are in view of the public, the longer it takes for its reputation to recover.”

The recall of Land Cruisers includes 39,000 of its 2003 through 2007 Lexus LX 470 SUVs in the U.S., sold elsewhere as the Land Cruiser 100, said Brian Lyons, a spokesman for the Toyota City, Japan-based company. Toyota said it’s not aware of deaths or injuries related to either flaw.

Toyota received seven complaints globally about steering brackets that failed, said Mieko Iwasaki, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman. In three of the cases reported in the U.S., there were unconfirmed “minor” accidents, Lyons said, without elaborating.

Toyota’s shares fell 0.5 percent to 3,055 yen as of 9:24 a.m. in Tokyo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Ohnsman in Los Angeles at aohnsman@bloomberg.net; Makiko Kitamura in Tokyo at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net

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