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December 25, 2009

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Toyota drives into another big recall

TOYOTA Motor Corp yesterday said it will recall more than 43,000 imported vehicles in China from the end of this month to fix a problem in the fuel pipe in the engine and analysts said the latest recall will hurt its competitiveness and tarnish its reputation.

The Japanese car maker said the fuel pipe in the engine might crack because of sulfur present fuel, which would lead to an oil leak and cause safety concerns. There have been no reports of casualties so far.

The affected cars are all imported, including 27,929 Lexus ES350 premier sedans produced between March 6, 2006 and April 8, 2008 and 5,113 Lexus RX350 sport utility vehicles made between January 16, 2006 and April 7, 2008, the company said in a statement. The recall also involved 6,848 Highlander SUVs made between May 31, 2006 and April 18, 2008 as well as 3,133 Previa multi purpose vehicles made between November 14, 2006 and April 8, 2008.

Toyota said it would replace the fuel pipe from December 30 till June 30, 2010.

Toyota, which builds its reputation on vehicle quality and durability, has been involved in several massive recalls in China and globally this year. It conducted its biggest recall of vehicles in China in August this year, affecting nearly 700,000 vehicles under its mainstream models such as Camry, Corolla, Vios and Yaris made by its Chinese joint venture.

Analysts noted the spate of recalls would harm its competitiveness against other international rivals in the world's fastest growing market.

Toyota expects to sell 700,000 vehicles in China this year, an increase of 19 percent year on year.


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