* V6 Camry, Avalon, Rav4, Lexus vehicles involved
* Oil hose may develop a hole, potentially causing leak
* 'Limited service campaign,' not safety recall - Toyota
(Adds details, background safety crisis, analyst comments)
By Soyoung Kim and Bernie Woodall
DETROIT, March 1 Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T)
will replace an oil hose in some 933,800 vehicles in the United
States due to the risk of a potential leak that could damage
the engine if left untreated, the automaker said on Monday.
On some Camry, Avalon, Rav4 and Lexus vehicles equipped
with V6 engines, the rubber portion of the engine oil hose may
develop a small hole, potentially causing oil leakage and
engine failure, Toyota said in a document sent to U.S. dealers
and obtained by Reuters on Monday.
Owners of the vehicles can have the oil hose replaced with
a newly designed one at Toyota dealerships at no charge until
March 31, 2013. The work will take about an hour.
Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons confirmed the company had sent
the document on a "limited service campaign" to U.S. dealers.
He added that the oil hose issue is not a safety issue and the
vehicles are not being recalled.
Safety issues have already forced Toyota, the world's top
automaker, to recall more than 8.5 million vehicles worldwide.
Toyota global quality control chief Shinichi Sasaki and
North American President Yoshimi Inaba are scheduled to appear
before a Senate committee on Tuesday for a third hearing on its
handling of consumer complaints about sudden acceleration.
COMPANY CHECKING OTHER TOYOTA AND LEXUS VEHICLES
The oil hose service campaign covers 2007-2010 model year
Camry, 2005-2009 Avalon, 2006-2009 Rav4, 2007-2008 Lexus ES 350
and 2007-2009 RX 350 vehicles.
Toyota is also investigating whether the same condition may
affect other Toyota and Lexus vehicles, the document showed.
Lyons said a leak would likely be noticed by drivers as the
condition may cause abnormal engine noise or cause the oil
pressure light to illuminate.
Lyons said he was not sure when Toyota first noticed the
problem of degrading oil hoses, but said it has adjusted
production so vehicles on assembly lines do not have the
Toyota has notified the U.S. National Highway
Transportation and Safety Administration of its call to dealers
and consumers to service the vehicles.
Aaron Bragman, auto analyst with IHS Global Insight, said
the oil hose issue is not nearly as significant as safety
recalls involving unintended acceleration.
Still, Bragman said, the latest service campaign won't help
Toyota's current efforts to protect its reputation for
Since the last week of January when Toyota called on
dealers to stop sales of more than half of its U.S. inventory,
the automaker's sales have slumped. They were down 16 percent
Toyota will announce February sales on Tuesday, and is
expected to show a deeper decline. [ID:nN26177297]
(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Bernie Woodall, editing by
Gerald E. McCormick, Gary Hill)