Toyota recalling over 410,000 cars in US and Canada

Toyota Motor Corp today said it is recalling around 412,000 of its high-end cars and SUVs in the United States and Canada to fix problems with the steering lock bar and the steering shaft.

Toyota Motor said it would recall about 373,000 of the 2000-2004 model Avalons and 39,000 of the2003-2007 model Lexus LX 470s to address the steering problem.

In Avalons, the carmaker said, the steering lock bar may develop minute cracks, which after a long period of time could cause the lock bar to break. This in turn may make it difficult for the interlock system to unlock when stationary.

In the case of the LX 470s, Toyota said the snap ring on the steering shaft might become loose when the front wheels encounter severe impact. This could lead to the steering shaft disengaging over a period of time, it said.

The recalls take the number of vehicles Toyota has recalled worldwide over the past year to nearly 11 million.

Toyota said it would take about two hours to replace the steering column bracket for the vehicles. This could cost Toyota about $70 million at the average US labor costs of about $85 per hour, analysts estimate.

Toyota announced the recall after receiving reports of three accidents involving the Avalon models although no injuries have been reported.