Toyota recalls 17,000 Lexus HS 250h hybrid over fuel leak issue

Japanese carmaker, Toyota Motor Corp., the world's largest automaker, yesterday issued a recall to 17,000 of its new 2010 Lexus HS 250h hybrid vehicles in the US and halted sales after the vehicle spilled fuel during the regulators crash tests.

Toyota, which has recalled more than 9 million vehicles this year over various faults and has paid a record $16.4 million fine in the US for not complying with auto-safety regulations, is recalling about 13,000 Lexus HS sedans that have already been sold and 4,000 that are with dealers.

Toyota was forced to recall the Lexus after tests conducted by the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration' (NHTSA) contractor found that fuel leaked during a rear impact crash at 50 miles per hour on a 2010 HS250h sedan.

The test involved striking the vehicle with a deformable barrier from the rear at approximately 50 mph.  The vehicle is struck by a moving deformable barrier with a 70 percent overlap.  As part of the test, the vehicle was then rotated on its longitudinal axis incrementally to each successive increment of 90 degrees.  During the rotation, the vehicle exhibited fuel spillage that exceeded the requirement in the standard.

Toyota said that during the vehicle development, the Lexus HS 250h were tested using the same protocol and found the vehicles to comply fully with the regulation. 

Toyota said that it is currently working to identify the reason for the different test results and the cause of this noncompliance and has notified dealers to stop selling the HS 250h.