Consumer Reports, the independent consumer information organization, issued a rare “don’t buy” advisory for the 2010 Lexus GX 460 due to safety risks that “could cause serious injury or death,” the group’s blog warned today. Consumer Reports said four separate engineers who tested the model noticed that taking their foot off the accelerator mid-turn caused the vehicle’s rear to swerve “almost sideways,” an abnormality that could cause the car to rollover.
“In real-world driving,” the entry continues, “lift-off oversteer could occur when a driver enters a highway’s exit ramp or drives through a sweeping turn and encounters an unexpected an obstacle or suddenly finds that the turn is too tight for the vehicle’s speed.”
Lexus’ response was mostly cautious. In a statement, the luxury auto company said it would “take a very serious look at this and appreciate Consumer Reports’ bringing it to our attention.” Lexus went on to complain that the engineers did not demonstrate the issue to company representatives, which the director of Consumer Reports’ auto division said would have been impossible because it was raining hard when representatives visited the test site.
The report concedes that the Lexus model has not yet been known to cause rollovers. But the fallout from Toyota’s faulty breaks has sparked a safety whirlwind that promises to uncover malfunctions of all sizes throughout the industry. Last week, for example, it was reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will investigate break problems in 6.2 million GM trucks and SUVs.
The increased scrutiny is bad news for the profit margins of Toyota, GM, and Lexus, which are already hurting more than usual due to the economic downturn. But if it leads to tighter vehicle safety standards, it’s very good news for consumers and concerned drivers.
UPDATE: Things just keep getting worse for Toyota. The company just announced that it would temporary stop selling the Lexus GX460 due to the safety concerns raised by Consumer Reports earlier today. Lexus has sold about 5,000 GX460s since the model went on the market only three months ago.
Photo credit: meryddian (Creative Commons)