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Lexus warning lifted, Toyota eyes profits amid crisis

Consumer Reports magazine is lifting a “Don’t Buy” recommendation for a Lexus sport utility vehicle that failed an emergency handling test.

autos Updated: May 07, 2010 22:02 IST

Consumer Reports magazine is lifting a “Don’t Buy” recommendation for a Lexus sport utility vehicle that failed an emergency handling test. The magazine said on Friday that the 2010 Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV passed the test after a dealership updated software that runs its electronic stability control system.

Toyota Motor Corp recalled about 10,000 of the SUVs in the United States in April after the magazine told readers not to buy them. The automaker also stopped selling them.

It said the rear of the GX 460 slid sideways when testers lifted their feet off the gas pedal during a high-speed turn on the magazine’s test track.

Under normal circumstances, the electronic stability control should quickly correct the loss of control and keep the SUV on its intended path. But with the GX 460, the stability control took too long to react, the magazine’s engineers said. It said it was not aware of any injuries caused by the problem.

The magazine said in a statement that it took the GX-460 it had purchased for the test to a dealership for the software update, then returned to the test track. “This time, the ESC system intervened earlier and its rear did not slide out in the lift-off oversteer test,” the magazine said. “Overall, CR did not experience any safety concerns with the corrected GX 460 in CR’s handling tests.”

Meanwhile, Toyota is expecting to return to the black for the fiscal year ended March 31 with an 80 billion yen ($842 million) profit. Sales,battered by the recalls and the slowdown following the 2008 financial crisis, have been gradually recovering, rising 24 per cent in April, partly because of record incentives.

Toyota is also hoping to grow in China and other emerging markets, as it also tries to fix its reputation with American consumers.