Another Toyota Recall: The Lexus HS 250h Hybrid May Explode on Impact
Toyota has issued yet another recall. This time it involves their Lexus brand line of cars. The Lexus 2010-model HS 250h luxury hybrid sedans are being recalled due to fuel leaks in rear-end collisions. While no known injuries or fatalities have been reported due to the leaks, the cars recently failed random testing conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and have been deemed unsafe to drive.
Toyota has informed all their dealers to immediately stop selling HS 250 hybrids until Toyota can determine how to fix the fuel leaks. Toyota has yet to determine the problem with the fuel system, and has no immediate plans to fix the HS 250h sedans that are currently on the roads.
Toyota claims the tests performed by their own engineers showed that the cars were in compliance with the NHTSA safety standards. The NHTSA allows a small amount of leakage in rear-end collisions, and it is unclear as of now how much fuel is supposed to be leaking from the fuel tanks upon impact. The Toyota executives are apparently baffled by the latest findings and claim to have no knowledge as to why their newest failure did not pass NHTSA testing.
The Japanese automaker claims that during the Lexus HS 250h's development phase it had tested the hybrid car using the same protocol as the NHTSA and found the vehicles to comply fully with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 301. The FMVSS 301 is the federal testing conducted to ensure all vehicles are safe if they are involved in a rear-end collision with another vehicle traveling at 50 mph.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that the defect in the Lexus hybrids can result in fuel fed fires or explosions when the vehicle is struck from behind. This defect is similar to the design flaw in the Ford Pintos of the 1970's, which resulted in several catastrophic injuries and deaths. Ford never recovered from the bad press and the Pinto line was scrapped after a few years. Could Toyota and Lexus be facing the same fate? Only time will tell.
On June 25, 2010, Lexus Vice President Mark Templin issued the following statement:
We want to assure our customers that their safety and satisfaction are our top priorities [sic]. We take the NHTSA's test results very seriously and appreciate the NHTSA bringing its concerns to our attention. Our engineers conducted similar testing during the development of the new HS 250h and the vehicle performed safely. While we are investigating and vigorously working to understand the different test results, we have stopped delivery of the involved vehicles. As soon as the issue is better understood and/or a remedy is developed, we will contact every owner.
What does this mean if you are the owner of a Lexus HS 250h hybrid? If you own a 2010 HS 250h, it seems that you are stuck with it until Lexus can determine the problem. You should call your local dealer to find out what to do with your car until the problem can be eliminated. The dealer should have suggestions for the recalled vehicles, because the same model Lexus cars were recalled earlier this year due to numerous problems, including a defect with the anti-lock braking systems.
To date, Toyota and Lexus have paid nearly $20 million in fines to the U.S. government over allegations of regularly concealing problems with their cars and trucks. They have also recalled thousands of vehicles under both the Toyota and Lexus brands because of various serious defects.
Toyota and Lexus are involved in numerous lawsuits over their defective vehicles. If you own a recalled Toyota car, truck, or SUV you need a lawyer that is experienced in consumer product liability law. Contact the attorneys at BISNAR | CHASE to discuss your issue and any possible lawsuits you may have against the company.
Read more about the role of litigation in auto safety.
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