Toyota to alert customers about trunk-release defect
Consumer Reports discovers Lexus defect
Toyota Motor Corp. next month is expected to alert about 700,000 U.S. owners of three Lexus nameplates about a problem with the emergency trunk release, Consumer Reports magazine said today.
Affected models are the 2007-13 ES mid-sized sedans, 2006-12 IS compact cars and 2013 GS mid-sized sedans. Consumer Reports said it found that the emergency trunk release in the 2013 ES and GS can easily break off, potentially trapping occupants inside. The IS was later identified as having the same defect. The lever works properly when pulled straight or toward the passenger side of the vehicle, but the plastic on the handle snaps when pulled toward the driver’s side, the magazine said.
The magazine notified Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about its findings.
Toyota, in a statement, acknowledged that the magazine discovered the faulty lever and confirmed the defect.
“The part has now been changed in production vehicles and Lexus is preparing parts to conduct a product update for existing customer vehicles,” the statement said. “The product update is anticipated to start when preparations are completed. Additional information will be provided at that time.”
Consumer Reports flagged the problem in October after the 4-year-old son of the magazine's auto testing director found the problem with the trunk lever.
The lever has been mandatory since the 2002 model year. Toyota will replace the ABS plastic release with a polypropylene unit, strengthened with supporting ridges. Polypropylene is used in a variety of automotive parts, including door panels and coolant containers, as well as other consumer products such as food containers.
Toyota will alert owners by mail to have the releases replaced when parts and procedures are available to dealerships.
Brianna Valleskey and Reuters contributed to this report.