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Toyota recalls close to 450,000 cars in North America


November 9, 2011
By Malcolm Foster The Associated Press

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Toyota Motor Corp. is recalling about 550,000 vehicles worldwide — mostly in North America — for problems that could make it harder to steer.

The recall affects 447,000 vehicles in North America, as well as 38,000 in Japan and another 25,000 in Australia and New Zealand, said Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett. In Europe, some 14,000 vehicles are being recalled, along with 10,000 in the Middle East and 14,000 in Asia outside of Japan.

There have been no reports of accidents or injuries related to the problems, Corbett said.

Toyota’s reputation has taken a hit over the last two years due to a string of huge recalls that have ballooned to 14 million vehicles over that time, including millions recalled last year for acceleration problems.

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The latest recall is due to the possibility that the outer ring of the engine’s crankshaft pulley may become misaligned with the inner ring, causing noise or a warning signal to light up, the company’s U.S. sales unit said in a press release. If the problem isn’t corrected, the belt for the power steering pump may become detached from the pulley, making it suddenly more difficult to turn the driving wheel.

In the United States, the automaker is recalling 283,200 Toyota brand cars, including the 2004 and 2005 Camry, Highlander, Sienna and Solara, the 2004 Avalon and the 2006 Highlander HV. Its recall of 137,000 Lexus vehicles includes the 2004 and 2005 ES330 and RX330 and 2006 RX400h.

Stay tuned for more information as this story unfolds.