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BUSINESS
October 12, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
Consumer Reports warned Friday that its testing found that the emergency interior trunk escape lever on the 2013 Lexus ES and GS can snap off during use, potentially leaving a trapped occupant without an escape mechanism. Since 2002, federal safety regulations have required all vehicles sold with trunks in the U.S. to have a release that would allow someone trapped in the compartment to get out. Typically, automakers use a handle that can be tugged. But Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' automotive test director, discovered in an unusual manner that the feature on several Lexus models doesn't work.
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BUSINESS
February 22, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger
Toyota Motor Corp. officials took credit for saving hundreds of millions of dollars by persuading federal regulators to limit or avoid safety recalls and rules, a company document released Sunday shows. The document, an internal company presentation, depicts an automaker focused on getting what it termed "favorable recall outcomes" from regulators, with a goal of saving money even as the death toll climbed from accidents in which Toyota vehicles accelerated uncontrollably. The presentation by executives in the company's Washington, D.C., office was addressed to Yoshimi Inaba, Toyota's top U.S. executive, and dated July 6, 2009 -- months before the sudden-acceleration problem was widely known outside Toyota and the federal highway regulatory agency.
BUSINESS
May 23, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
Five months before the new 2002 Lexus ES hit showroom floors, the company's U.S. engineers sent a test report to Toyota City in Japan: The luxury sedan shifted gears so roughly that it was "not acceptable for production." The warning was sent to Toyota Executive Vice President Katsuaki Watanabe on May 16, 2001. Days later, another Japanese executive sent an e-mail to top managers saying that despite misgivings among U.S. officials, the 2002 Lexus was "marginally acceptable for production."
BUSINESS
November 29, 2009 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian
Eric Weiss was stopped at a busy Long Beach intersection last month when he said his 2008 Toyota Tacoma pickup unexpectedly started accelerating, forcing him to stand on the brakes to keep the bucking truck from plowing into oncoming cars. Toyota Motor Corp. says the gas pedal design in Weiss' truck and more than 4 million other Toyota and Lexus vehicles makes them vulnerable to being trapped open by floor mats, and on Wednesday, it announced a costly recall to fix the problem. But Weiss is convinced his incident wasn't caused by a floor mat. He said he removed the mats in his truck months earlier on the advice of his Toyota dealer after his truck suddenly accelerated and rear-ended a BMW. "The brakes squealed and the engine roared," the 52-year-old cabinet maker said of the most recent episode.
BUSINESS
November 5, 2009 | Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian
Federal safety regulators have sharply rebuked Toyota Motor Corp. for issuing "inaccurate and misleading" statements asserting that no defect exists in the 3.8 million vehicles it recalled after a Lexus sedan accelerated out of control in San Diego County, killing four people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a statement Wednesday that the recalled Toyota and Lexus vehicles do have an "underlying defect" that involves the design of the accelerator pedal and the driver's foot well.
BUSINESS
March 30, 1990 | BRUCE HOROVITZ, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Lexus is sticking its money where its agency is. Team One Advertising, the same agency that has helped drive Lexus to impressive sales, sped off Thursday with the estimated $20-million to $30-million annual ad business for the newly formed national Lexus Dealer Assn. The El Segundo-based agency already handles the estimated $60-million-plus national ad business for Lexus. The new account is among the largest awarded on the West Coast in months.
BUSINESS
February 10, 2010 | By Ken Bensinger and Ralph Vartabedian
Amid its widening recall crisis, Toyota Motor Corp. said it had moved closer to adopting changes to its push-button ignition system to give drivers an added margin of safety if their vehicles accelerate out of control. Executives at the company's headquarters in Japan are considering redesigning the keyless ignition system, known as Smart Key, to allow drivers to shut off the engine by tapping the button three times in a row, company spokesman Brian Lyons said. Currently, Toyota and Lexus vehicles with a push-button starter can be shut off when in motion only by depressing and holding the button for 3 full seconds, a procedure that safety experts have suggested is counterintuitive and can prolong runaway acceleration incidents.
BUSINESS
November 26, 2009 | By Martin Zimmerman
The largest recall in Toyota Motor Corp. history will probably put a serious dent in the Japanese automaker's pocketbook. But the hit to Toyota's image could prove even more damaging. The company's reputation as a builder of reliable, trouble-free vehicles has been tarnished by a series of quality problems, including the recall of more than 4 million Toyota and Lexus cars and light trucks to fix a defect that could cause runaway acceleration. On Wednesday, Toyota unveiled an elaborate plan to fix the problem that ultimately could cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
AUTOS
April 19, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Toyota's announcement Friday that it will start building the Lexus ES 350 at a factory in Georgetown, Ky., is part of a larger policy of moving production of cars to the markets where they are sold that could result in the automaker's Prius hybrid being built in the U.S. In an interview with The Times, Toyota's North American CEO Jim Lentz said the Prius would be the only major gap in Toyota's North American production once the Lexus assembly line...
AUTOS
April 19, 2013 | By Jerry Hirsch
Toyota Motor Co. plans to build Lexus cars in the U.S. when it completes an expansion of the factory in Kentucky where it makes the Camry and Avalon sedans. Toyota said Friday it will shift production of the Lexus ES 350 from a factory in Kyushu, Japan, to the Georgetown, Ky., complex, a move that will create about 750 new jobs at the plant. The automaker will invest $360 million in the factory and also receive $146.5 million in tax incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.
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