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Toyota halts Lexus GX460 sales worldwide

Thu, 15 Apr 2010

The 2010 Lexus GX460. Sales have been halted due to safety concerns

2010 is turning in to Toyota’s ‘Annus Horribilis’. Its formerly untouchable reputation for producing bullet-proof cars has been severely damaged by the ‘ThottleGate’ problems, with more damage to Toyota’s reputation being caused by their failure to address a problem they seemed to be all too aware of, rather than the problem itself causing the damage.

Which may explain why Toyota has taken the seemingly extraordinary step of stopping all sales of the Lexus GX460 worldwide following a ‘Don’t Buy’ report from ‘Consumer Reports’ in the US. Consumer Reports said that in their tests the Lexus GX460 (which isn’t sold in the UK)  demonstrated unacceptable levels of oversteer if prodded by lifting off mid-bend. Which sounds to us like a recipe for fun.

But joking apart, oversteer can have rather more serious consequences in an SUV of any size as they are prone to tipping over if they hit with an obstacle – such as a kerb – whilst busy bringing the back round to meet the front. These days you would expect the ESC to cut in to prevent this. Particularly on Toyotas, which aren’t exactly renowned for their ‘Fun’ setting on the ESC. But it would seem that isn’t happening, which is why Toyota are taking no chances and are stopping sales forthwith.

This can probably be fixed with a reprogramme of the ESC software to make it address the oversteer under these extreme circumstances. There was a time when this would just be put down to the characteristics of the car, and if anyone was stupid enough to lift-off mid-bend in a car prone to oversteer under those circumstances then any resulting problems would be blamed on the idiot behind the wheel. Ask any driver of a 1970s Porsche 911 (and actually, much newer 911s too).

But these days we not only expect cars to be benign transport solutions but perform against the laws of physics thanks to electro-nannies. It’s getting to the point where all accidents are going to be blamed on the car, not the driver.

Can’t help thinking that’s not a good thing.

By Cars UK