TOYOTA RECALLS VEHICLES A SECOND TIME

By By CHRISTOPHER JENSEN
Courtesy of the Associated Press

c.2013 New York Times News Service

Toyota is recalling about 780,000 vehicles for a second time after its first effort to prevent a handling problem did not work, according to a report posted Sunday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.

The recall covers about 18,000 2010 Lexus HS 250h autos, a hybrid model, with the rest being the 2006 through 2011 Toyota RAV4 sport utility vehicle. The agency says the failure of a rear tie rod on the suspension could “cause a loss of vehicle control.”

It is unusual for an automaker to issue what amounts to a recall of a recall, particularly involving so many vehicles. Toyota, once seen as a benchmark in quality and reliability, has seen that image undermined in recent years.

The vehicles were first recalled in August 2012 after an investigation the agency began in response to consumer complaints.

But now the automaker says it will recall the vehicles again and try a different repair after learning from dealers that some vehicles still had problems, according to a letter Toyota sent dealers Tuesday and was then posted on the safety agency website.

“Upon investigation it was discovered that some of the inspections were not adequate and portions of the repair procedure may not have been performed correctly,” the letter says.

Toyota also told dealers that because of a limited number of parts, not all vehicles will be repaired until February.

A similar letter was sent to Lexus dealers. Customers are being asked to return to dealerships for a “revised inspection and remedy procedure.”