Automaker recalling 1.53 million vehicles

The luster of Toyota's emblem might have taken a hit Thursday, with the recall of 1.53 million Lexus, Avalon and other models for brake fluid and fuel pump problems.

TOKYO --- Toyota is recalling 1.53 million Lexus, Avalon and other models, mostly in the U.S. and Japan, for brake fluid and fuel pump problems, the latest in a string of quality lapses for the world's No. 1 automaker.


Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday that it will call back for repairs about 740,000 cars in the U.S. and 599,000 in Japan. The remainder are in Europe and other markets around the world. Honda Motor Co. also said it would recall an undetermined number of vehicles because of the same issue.

Over the past year, Toyota has recalled more than 10 million cars and trucks worldwide for a variety of problems, from faulty gas pedals and floor mats that can trap accelerators, to braking problems in its Prius hybrid. In August, Toyota recalled 1.33 million Corolla sedans and Matrix hatchbacks in the U.S. and Canada because their engines might stall.

The majority of vehicles this time around need to be fixed for a problem with the brake master cylinder that could lead to weaker braking power, said spokesman Paul Nolasco in Tokyo. Some models in Japan and elsewhere -- but not in North America -- have an electrical problem with the fuel pump which could cause the engine to stall, he said.

No accidents have been reported from the two defects, he said.

Analysts said the recall decision, coming just two months after a major recall, seems to suggest that Toyota is trying to be more forthcoming. American regulators hit Toyota with a $16.4 million fine for failing to promptly tell the government about its car defects.

Owners to be notified

The models affected by the latest recall in the U.S. include the 2005 and 2006 Avalon, 2004 through 2006 nonhybrid Highlander and Lexus RX330, and 2006 Lexus GS300, IS250 and IS350 vehicles, Toyota said in a statement from its U.S. headquarters in Torrance, Calif.

Toyota will notify owners worldwide by mail to come for repairs at no charge, Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco said.

HONDA MOTOR CO. also said Thursday it plans to recall an undetermined number of vehicles for the same problem of leaking brake fluid. The U.S. vehicles involved in the recall are 2005-2007 Acura RL and 2005-2007 Honda Odyssey.

-- Associated Press