Toyota's Latest Headache: Lexus GX 460 Rated 'Unsafe'

After halting sales of the SUV, the automaker vows to fix the problem

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Following a Consumer Reports article urging people not to buy Toyota's Lexus GX 460--a rare warning from the widely-respected magazine--the Japanese automaker has suspended sales of the SUV. The magazine said the vehicle has handling problems that could lead to rollovers. In a statement, Lexus General Manager Mark Templin said "We are taking the situation with the GX 460 very seriously and are determined to identify and correct the issue Consumer Reports identified." Read what industry analysts are saying about the latest development after the jump:

  • Don't Buy This SUV, warns Consumer Reports: "When pushed to its limits on our track’s handling course, the rear of the GX we bought slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control. We believe that in real-world driving, that situation could lead to a rollover accident, which could cause serious injury or death."
  • A Serious But Fixable Problem, writes Frank Ahrens at The Washington Post: "Say a driver is exiting the interstate onto a curving off-ramp and he takes his foot off the gas to avoid an obstacle. This could cause the SUV's rear end to begin sliding sideways and end in a rollover."But the problem is fixable, Ahrens says. "If Toyota deems the Lexus to have a handling problem, fixing it could be a simple matter of adjusting the vehicle's electronic stability system...Vehicle stability monitoring and control may be the most important modern innovation in the auto industry, as it makes cars much safer and adjusts to driving conditions faster than drivers could."
  • Excellently Handled by Toyota, applauds Damon Lavrinc at Auto Blog: "It seems Toyota's learned a few things from its recent spate of recalls – react quickly, react decisively and repeatedly reassure customers that their safety is a top priority... the automaker is investigating CR's claims and using the consumer pub's testing methodology to determine how the SUV's emergency handling can be improved. Furthermore, any 2010 GX 460 owner concerned about their vehicle's safety will be provided a loaner vehicle from Lexus until the automaker can find a solution. Full details in the press release after the jump."
  • How Will This Affect Sales?  David Schepp at Daily Finance explains: "It remains to be seen how this latest issue will effect sales of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. The world's largest auto maker saw its sales rise some 40% in March thanks to generous incentives, including zero-interest loans and cheap leases. But the Lexus GX 460 is a low-volume seller, and given Americans' wariness about buying large SUVs."
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