TOKYO/DETROIT Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it would recall nearly 417,000 high-end passenger cars and SUVs in the United States and Canada to fix steering problems.
The recalls of Toyota Avalon sedans and Lexus LX470 sport utility vehicles pushes the number of vehicles Toyota has recalled over the past year globally to nearly 11 million, marring its reputation for quality.
Toyota will recall 373,000 of its 2000 to 2004 model year Avalons in the U.S. because the steering lock bar in these vehicles could break under some conditions, it said in a statement.
The automaker also is recalling 4,200 of those Avalons in Canada, Toyota Canada said.
Toyota will recall 39,000 LX470 SUVs from the 2003 to 2007 model years in the U.S. and 520 in Canada to eliminate the risk of steering shaft disengagement, the world's biggest automaker said.
Toyota said that it would take about two hours to replace the steering column bracket for the vehicles. It did not estimate the cost of the repair.
With average labor costs of about $85 per hour in the United States, the U.S. part of the recall could cost about $70 million plus parts.
Toyota has received reports of three accidents involving the Avalon models under the recall though no injuries have been reported, a Toyota spokesman said. It was unclear whether the three accidents were related to the possible defect, he said.
There have been no reports of accidents involving the LX470 models subject to the recall, Toyota said.
(Reporting by Yumiko Nishitani in Tokyo, John McCrank in Toronto, and David Bailey and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Gerald E. McCormick)