Often, this blog reports on recalls issued by the various government agencies tasked with protecting consumers from dangerous products (or by product makers kindly requested to do so by those government agencies). However, due to an April 13 article from Consumer Reports, issuing an unusual "don't buy" warning on the 2010 Lexus GX 460, Toyota itself has suspended sales of the car.
According to The New York Times, the Lexus division of Toyota halted sales just hours after the Consumer Reports article was made public. A company statement said they are “taking the situation with the GX 460 very seriously and are determined to identify and correct the issue Consumer Reports identified.” While Toyota has stopped short of a formal recall, it has said it will provide a replacement car to any concerned customers while the problems are being addressed.
The specific problems with the Lexus were identified by the Consumer Reports team when testing the car with what they like to call "real world" driving. The test involved driving the car through a turn and then having the driver suddenly remove his foot from the acceleration pedal, as drivers might do when finding a turn on a freeway ramp too tight for the car's current speed. During the test, the Lexus "slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control." This situation could lead to a roll-over accident, according to the CR team.
CR says it performed the same test on every one of the 95 SUV's currently tested by the publication. CR writes, "No other SUV in recent years slid out as far as the GX 460, including the Toyota 4Runner, which shares the same platform as the GX."
Not only Toyota, but NHTSA is taking this report seriously. It is in communication with both Consumer Reports and the car company, according to The Times. The Agency has said it is “in the process of testing” the Lexus to “better understand the results obtained” by Consumer Reports. NHTSA has also said it is pleased by Toyota's quick action in dealing with this new problem.
Consumer Reports reminds readers that the "don't buy" designation is a rare one. The last time it was issued was with the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited, in the August 2001 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.