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Hybrid hell: Toyota recalls 369K, as electric-powered kinks continue

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Toyota announced two recalls on Wednesday, the latest in a rash of vehicle safety and mechanical issues for a company that's been trying for some time to grow an image of high quality.

One of the recalls involves the Highlander Hybrid, models 2006 through 2010, and a sproblem with the warning system that could lead to the vehicle's abrupt halt while driving, CNN reported. The other recall is for the Lexus RX 400h vehicles from 2006 t0 2008. Those vehicles, too, have a stopping problem — this time, for bolts in the variable valve timing control device that loosen and, in some cases, fall off, CNN reported.

A spokesperson for the Japan-based auto company said no accidents or injuries have been reported due to the mechanical faults, CNN said.

The recall — which affects 235,000 vehicles in the United States, 74,000 in Japan and another 37,500 in Europe — is a heavy hammer to a company that's been fighting for a share in the crowded automaker market, and to make inroads in the hybrid and clean energy vehicle industry.

Just in June, the company recalled almost a quarter of a million Prius and Lexus hybrids, citing a breaking problems. Last October, it recalled 7.43 million vehicles for a power window issue — that also brought with it a fire risk. In April, Toyota recalled 1.7 million vehicles with airbag faults. And between 2009 and 2010, the company recalled a total of 8 million vehicles for sticky accelerator pedals — Toyota's largest recall in history, that also led to the temporary suspension of assembly line production for several models.

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