By on April 14, 2010

Toyota’s Lexus GX 460 has been taken behind the woodshed by consumer reports. The SUV re-emerged with two black eyes. CR issued a “Don’t Buy” rating and declared the GX 460 a “safety risk.” Said TTAC’s Edward Niedermeyer: “Expect GX460 sales to fall off a cliff until the model is fitted with an electronic straitjacket.” Fall off a cliff? Sales are zero as of this morning.

Toyota “suspended sales of the 2010 Lexus GX 460” reports Automotive News [sub]. Toyota will be “vigorously testing” the luxo-SUV until they will know what’s going on.

“At this time we have asked our dealers to temporarily suspend sales of the 2010 GX 460,” said Lexus Group Vice President Mark Templin. If you have a Lexus GX 460, and you are worried, then your friendly Lexus dealer will provide you with a loaner until the matter is resolved, said Toyota in a statement.

Citing the obvious, IHS Global Insight analyst Aaron Bragman said the matter “certainly does no favors for Toyota and adds doubts in people’s minds as to the safety and reliability of Toyota vehicles.”

For as long as one can remember, Consumer Reports had been under suspicion of being a Toyota fanzine. “Past endorsements from Consumer Reports have been credited as one reason for Toyota’s steady sales growth in the United States over the past 15 years,” says AN. That friendship seems to be over. Last time Consumer Reports had issued such a damning statement was in 2001, when CR told consumers to avoid the Mitsubishi Montero Limited. Mitsubishi never recovered.

The Nikkei [sub] reports from Tokyo that “shares in Toyota Motor Corp. continued lower Wednesday morning, after the automaker said Tuesday U.S. time it will suspend sales of the 2010 Lexus GX 460 SUV … Investors sold the stock on concern about a possible recall and the impact on earnings.”

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61 Comments on “Toyota Halts Lexus GX 460 Sales, Stock Drops...”


  • avatar
    John Horner

    People keep thinking that the Consumer Reports’ historical recommendations of Toyotas were based on “friendship”. It wasn’t, those recommendations were based on data. When the data changed, the recommendations changed.

  • avatar
    NickR

    From a selfish point of view, I am glad. Every last one of these I have seen is being driven in a shopping mall, supermarket parking lot my some spoiled housefrau that can’t even see out of the godammed thing. It takes them 10 minutes to pull into a parking space and 20 minutes to get out.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      I hear ya. The self absorbed soccer moms applying makeup in one hand and a cell phone in the other (they can’t be bothered to actually drive). Then they park their overpriced truck crooked and take up three or more spaces.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Assuming they don’t hit you while parking – not noticing, of course. I quit grocery shopping at the local west end upscale mall because my S-10 was getting backed into way too often. The final straw was the dent in the passenger door less than one week after the truck came out of the body shop for driver’s side front fender repairs. That dent is still there – I gave up.

      I absolutely will not take to Porsche to that mall under any conditions.

    • 0 avatar
      kkop

      Here we go with the stereotypes again…
      Let me add mine: around here, the a&^holes and spoiled ones drive BMWs.

      Enough with the SUV and truck hate already. ‘Guzzle Gas’, ‘Who really needs one’, ‘fashion statement’. These same arguments apply to luxury sports cars like a Mercedes SL/SLR/SLK, but never seem to matter there (IN the world of TTAC anyway).

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      I can’t remember the last time I saw a GX. RXs are everywhere, and you see the occasional LX, but GXs are pretty rare.

      You must live in an interesting area if you see these so frequently.

    • 0 avatar

      I mentioned it in other thread, but SF crawls with them.

    • 0 avatar
      vento97

      kkop:

      Enough with the SUV and truck hate already.

      Trust me, it’s not the actual vehicles that most people take issue with – its the clueless, self-absorbed idiots behind the wheel that’s the problem….

  • avatar
    Stingray

    “certainly does no favors for Toyota and adds doubts in people’s minds as to the safety and reliability of Toyota vehicles.”

    I don’t think reliability , but safety for sure.

    This remind me the Mercedes A-Class roll-over scandal many years ago.

    As of this moment, local 7:40, it’s the first item in Google before the official site.

    I’ve read in other sites that the GX is 4Runner based, but it looks more like Land Cruiser Prado based to me.

  • avatar

    ABC news showed a clip. The truck is taken into a corner, the curve is tightened past understeer, and at max understeer, the back comes around (sheer mass cannot be denied-see the 911).

    The truck didn’t pitch or roll-it was actually quite well controlled for such a huge bus. This is a total non issue for the typical user driving Jared and Alexa to soccer, music and the mall.

    I’m not a Toyota fanboi by any means….but this one is silly, unless you intend to autocross the GX. Also, if you are understeering to that extent, you probably hit whatever you were trying to miss already.

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      The problem is, when the vehicle’s rear end goes that far out, it can hit a curb and flip. It may also hit soft shoulder, dirt, signs … and do the same. I agree that it was a very well controlled skid but way too much.

      I would also like to see video of how competitevely vehicles behave around that corner under the same circumstances.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Not silly. When BOF truck-based SUVs became widespread, a lot of drivers discovered – to their considerable detriment – these kind of handling characteristics, which they weren’t prepared to deal with. What happens — as is shown in the video — is that the driver makes an abrupt steering input, perhaps to avoid something, and the vehicle begins to oversteer. Then the driver applies too much opposite lock which, as a result of the high center of gravity and long-travel, compliant suspension, produce oversteer in the opposite direction. A side-to-side oscillation then begins and after a few cycles, the driver has completely lost directional control of the vehicle. This happens without hitting any curbs, running a wheel of the pavement or whatever. And, we’re not talking rollover here, just loss of directional control.

      A properly designed stability control should prevent this oscillation from getting started by preempting the driver’s over-correction steering input. Quite clearly, the video shows that the Lexus fails to do this.

      As for enthusiast’s complaints about “electronic nannies” spoiling the fun, or closing the throttle at inopportune moments, that’s simply a design error, not an indictment of such controls generally.

      As applied to top-heavy SUVs with compliant, long-travel suspensions, the stability control should be setup to intervene early, whereas on enthusiast vehicles, it should not be.

  • avatar
    Nicodemus

    Interesting..

    http://www.fordforums.com.au/showthread.php?t=11204714&page=2&pp=30

    Scroll down the posts to read a magazine report of similar circumstances on another Toyota SUV.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    What? They didn’t do the cruising speed, jerk the wheel to the left, then to the right and throw their hands in the air to get their result like they did with the Omnirizon twins years ago ?

    This seems overboard when the tendency is for all of them to be top heavy anyway

  • avatar

    I’ve never felt that Consumer Reports was a Toyota shill… their recommendations have always seemed fair and unbiased, even though I’ve questioned on occasion their survey.

    I’d question whether any SUV without ESC would actually act any differently… and the problem doesn’t seem quite that serious… except for the fact that people buying the GX on the strength of its safety features would expect the stability control to kick in much sooner… but this isn’t unprecedented… stories of confused Mercs coming to a rest sideways in the road when the ESC finally kicks in come to mind.

  • avatar
    Hank

    No one truly concerned about rollover safety drives a tall, narrow vehicle regardless of make/model/ESC. This vehicle is just another designer purse/European man-bag on wheels.

  • avatar
    salhany

    As I said in the other thread, it would be really helpful if CR posted a video of another luxury SUV going through the same test and passing it in their judgment. I’d like to see how much more the GX swings out than other vehicles in its class, just to get a baseline of “pass” and “fail.”

  • avatar

    They can’t win this one. Fit aggressive stability control, and the enthusiasts complain. Fit conservative stability control, and CR says not to buy.

    Then again, enthusiasts aren’t buying the GX anyway. Let’s just hope we don’t end up with overly intrusive stability control on all cars as a result.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      I fear that this will bring on even more Nanny controls. As it is, the fun has been removed from many cars with their overactive ESC systems.

      It can even be dangerous at the other end of the spectrum.

      This winter I pulled out in front of someone when making a left turn with our Hyundai Genesis. I wasn’t worried because the Genesis has 290 horsepower on tap and I knew I’d be in my lane passing him at 30 miles per hour…except that didn’t happen. When I stomped on it, the engine just died. The stability control saw the wheel slip and the slightest yaw and clamped down hard. There was a tense few seconds as I inched across the road while the oncoming driver laid on his horn.

      The Genesis is not alone. When I described this behavior to my neighbor he decried his Mercedes E500 for doing the exact same thing to him.

    • 0 avatar
      texan01

      That’s my biggest fear is that we have become so knee-jerk in electronic nannies, that it’s really making things worse as it takes the thinking further and further away from driving.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Solution is to think of it as turbo-lag and adjust your driving habits accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      My solution would be to disable it.

  • avatar
    Contrarian

    Ah, perhaps a bit of CR pennace (or even a jilted lover syndrome) for carrying Toyota’s water for all those years – and then being let down and discredited.

    Fact is, if CR had done their jobs better instead of sliding into laziness and complacency, they could easily have recognized Toyota’s quality slide sooner.

    Now they have a damaged reputation to deal with and may be overreacting just for that purpose.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Except that the “quality decline” is nowhere near as precipitous as enthusiasts seem to believe.

      If you look at CR’s (or anyone else’s) rankings, Toyota and Honda are still pretty much at or near the top of every segment’s reliability rankings. Ford, Mazda and Nissan usually come next, followed by Hyundai/Kia and, bringing up the rear, GM, Chrysler and VW.

      Objectively, Toyota does not have a quality problem to the degree that GM, Chrysler or the Europeans do. Objectively and off the record most brands would probably really like the have Toyota’s level of actual problems. Subjectively, they have a serious PR problem.

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      In the case of CR you can not take a ranking from a biased sample as proof of how Toyota or any other company is doing. The only true indication would be a scientific balanced sample of random owners – similar to what the political pollsters are supposed to do. I’m not aware of anyone who does this, not even JD Powers.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      CR does use a statistical sample to get their reliability data. TrueDelta is another good resource.

    • 0 avatar
      CamaroKid

      CR’s supposed “statistical” sample is a total mess… it is a gong show of simplification and slicing and dicing to a point of being useless.

  • avatar
    buzz phillips

    CR simply calls them as they see them!

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      Is that why in a past issue comparing a Buick against imports they said that the Buick rear seating was “cramped” but they imports were “ok” to “good” and then when you read the spec sheets you see that the Buick has more inches of leg room, head room, and hip room in the back seat than all the other cars tested? Must be that new math.

    • 0 avatar
      Contrarian

      Unfortunately, they called the Tundra “reliable” at the same time it was introduced, simply because it was a Toyota. That and other water-carrying for Toyota hurt their credibility significantly.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      It is new math by the manufacturers. I don’t know if there are any real standards for measuring hip, head and leg room in autos, but I have seen the very same thing. For example, my head hits the ceiling in the new Buick Lacrosse but the “numbers” don’t look any worse than it’s rivals. Similarly I can’t fit my legs behind the seat of the Volvo S80 and Ford Taurus when the front seat is adjusted comfortably.

      I suspect there is a lot of leeway for manufacturers to make these measurements. For example, where should the front seat be adjusted when measuring leg room in the back seat? Should the back seat headroom be measured straight up from the seat cushion, or back further…where the head actually is when sitting back in the seat.

      That is why there is a disparity in the reviews vs. the numbers and why you should get in the back seat (with the front seat adjusted to your height) before deciding on a car. It is why we chose the Hyundai Genesis over the Lacrosse, Taurus and S80. The Hyundai was the only car that had a comfortable backseat for my plus 6 foot family.

      P.S. The Buick Lacrosse rear seat was horribly claustrophobic. The lack of headroom combined with the high sills made for the feeling of being squashed like luggage.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Contrarian – the so-called “unreliable” Tundra was actually the most reliable of all full size trucks per JD Power’s 3 year dependability study. Yes, I have access to the full JD Power 3 year study and looked specifically into engine and transmission PPH where the Tundra had the best rating followed somewhat closely by the F150… which was a several year carryover model at the time.

  • avatar
    jaje

    Funny thing is now Ford/GM use CR as references to claim that their cars are better (now that they are in fact much better than before) – whereas previously Ford/GM would claim CR was completely biased to the Japanese (when in fact Ford/GM’s cars were mainly uncompetitive and unreliable and archaic).

    Why does anyone want to spend more money for what is a 4Runner? Lexus SUVs are simply lightly worked over rebadges of already decently luxurious SUVs with the T on the front.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Ford might, but GM does not. GM’s models are a mixed lot in CR’s rankings.

      That said, it’s not actually possible to quote CR’s rankings in advertising, last I checked. Unlike, eg, Motor Trend, Consumer Guide, C&D and the like.

    • 0 avatar
      bmoredlj

      GM uses Consumer’s Digest not Reports, for their advertising. I get the two mixed up all the time, and honestly, I think GM is fine with people mixing them up. CR is more well-known.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      Consumer Reports requests manufacturers don’t use their ratings or recommendations in their advertising. They don’t want any appearance of impartiality. That is why you will see advertisers say “in a major consumer magazine” instead of naming Consumer Reports.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    I’m pleased Toyota is moving on this issue so quickly. Even if the SUA debacle won’t seriously damage sales, it has bruised their reputation and essentially trained the corporation to react faster to problems.

    As always, the relentless pursuit of perfection can be an arduous one.

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      Yeah…and only 3 years after being alerted to issues with their stability control system by Wheels magazine….4 actually, as they discussed the issue the previous year…before they rolled the Toyota truck.

      http://www.fordforums.com.au/showthread.php?t=11204714&page=2&pp=30

    • 0 avatar
      Contrarian

      “As always, the relentless pursuit of perfection can be an arduous one.”

      My, it;s getting shilly in here ;-)

  • avatar
    wsn

    This may be a little bit off topic, but still the most relevant thread to ask.

    People here always say VW has poor reliability scores in CR. However, when I flip though the pages of CR Canada, many VW models (such as Jetta) is recommended and has a good predicted reliability.

    What is going on here? Is it that:
    1) CR Canada is independent from CR USA? (The logo, red circle, everything is the same)
    2) VW made lots of improvements and you people didn’t know?
    3) CR is lowering it’s standards? (I see 75% of cars are recommended now.)

    Thanks! (Oh, I am sure it’s CR, not CD. I know the difference.)

    • 0 avatar
      Disaster

      A few Volkswagens have faired well. People are talking about the ones that have not. There is a huge gap between the best VW’s (Golf) and the worst (Touareg.) It doesn’t help that VW dealers are notorious for charging high prices for service.

      http://ask.metafilter.com/25352/Is-my-VW-service-guy-ripping-me-off

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      I wondered that as well. To me, there seems to be some inconsistency as to CR’s “Recommended” vehicles and other factors that would lead me to believe they shouldn’t be “Recommended.”

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    That Toyota has been able to sell a single one of these hideous creatures is a testimony to the failure of arts education.

  • avatar

    The recall of the GX460 is the culmination of a multitude of management problems. Its top management, not the workers, who have created the system that has resulted in a decline in Toyota’s quality over the past several years.

    Here are some of the issues that are attributable to top management: 1) a power struggle that is currently happening in the top management ranks causing a lack of clear direction 2) lack of leadership demonstrated by Ako Toyoda (CEO) 3) unethical behavior in producing cars that are knowingly defective with faulty gas pedal mechanisms 4) dysfunctional organizational structure with a breakdown in communication between Toyota City (Japan), Europe and the US 5) violation of principles of the re-known “Toyota Production System” which used to be the gold standard that other manufacturers benchmarked against and 6) a wrong-headed focus on profits over quality and customer safety

    The one hopeful sign about stopping sales of the GX460 is that top management is finally pulling the andon cord, stopping the sale of an ostensibly defective product. Pulling the andon cord was a practice originated by Toyota where the worker on the assembly line could stop production at the first sign of a quality problem. Rather than stonewalling the authorities–as Toyota’s top management has done with the NHTSA—senior management is finally starting to eat its own dog food.

    Tim Mojonnier

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      “4) dysfunctional organizational structure with a breakdown in communication between Toyota City (Japan), Europe and the US.”

      Tim,

      This is what Toyota claimed to be behind how they were able to institute fixes in Euorpe while still “studying” the problem in the US …

      The only thing that makes this scenario questionable, is that with Toyota having had centralized decision-making in Japan, there was no need for Toyota’s foreign-subsidiaries to cross-communicate or cross-coordinate; so how could poor communication between subsidiaries have even been a contributing factor. I call B.S. on TMC’s excuse here.

      Additionally, IIUC, the pedals for both the euro-Toyotas and the US-Toyotas were made by the same supplier, with the supplier being instructed by an unnamed Toyota official not to change the pedal for the US-market …

      Otherwise I agree with your other comments.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    While I realize the attraction of familiarity in hard times, taking on Audi 5000 redux and Ford Explorer Part Deux at one time does seem a bit much.

    Just like viewing the originals, in 10 years, the science will prove that it is just another symptom of poorly trained drivers making bad decisions, reacting incorrectly.

    Or, like having a 747 crash into your house. Things just happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Davekaybsc

      This isn’t the same as the SUA issue. CR said that they haven’t gotten any reports about GX460s doing this in the wild. This is a professional driver pointing out that the GX’s ESC system doesn’t seem particularly adept at handling lift-off oversteer.

      Considering the types of people that drive these things, if they do go into a corner too hard and then jump off of the throttle, are they going to be able to apply the correct amount of opposite lock to keep the truck in a controlled slide/drift? Probably not. The more likely response is panic and over-correction, which is why the ESC should be doing its job in the first place.

      I do hate it though when traction control systems decide that even though I floored the car, since the wheels spun a bit, what I actually wanted was to not go anywhere. That’s a much different situation and an annoying one where the nanny should really stay out of the way. Fortunately with Quattro its an issue that I no longer have to deal with. I’ll never go back to 2WD, on either side.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    True it’s not the SUA thing. It’s actually more of the Samurai than Explorer. Besides, liftoff oversteer? Anybody at CR ever drive a 911 pre-2000ish?

    As there have been zero reports of an incident, I just see this is as silly. It’s a truck, and as such, needs to be driven as one.

    If one thinks a Samurai is gonna corner like a Swift they need a physics lesson.

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I applaud Toyota for the stop sell coming so quickly. I guessed they learned something from the SUA events. This isn’t a big seller though, so there isn’t too much to lose $$$ except in reputation. My guess is that this won’t effect it too much. This isn’t going to be a Ford Pinto moment, Chevy Corvair, etc.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    My opinion is that this is a suspension-calibration issue, not a stability-program issue … although they’ll probably make the electronic nanny more intrusive rather than fitting a stronger front antiroll bar to give it more front-end roll stiffness, which is probably what’s really needed to fix this …

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    “I applaud Toyota for the stop sell coming so quickly.”

    Really? Really??? Toyota was caught. Simple as that. With UA, they were caught with, not one, but two defects. Perhaps three. Internal Toyota documents surfaced showing other defects where they lobbied hard, and were successful in avoiding recalls. I’d still like to know more about what was behind that and what government official got bought-off by Toyota. Brake defects, caught. Frame-rot, caught. Sludged engines, caught. This is what we KNOW about, so it’s safe to assume that there’s more. Toyota was once beyond reproach. Clearly that was all bogus. If Toyota went away tomorrow, I’d be fine with that.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Let me clarify this. It took them 5 days to stop selling the vehicles after the SUA incidents. This happened over the course of only a few hours. That is an improvement.

      The defect is terrible as are the SUA defects. Toyota should pay the price for that, this GX defect, and the other defects they have had. Just like any other manufacture. The ability to stop selling a vehicle, admittedly a very small amount of sales, is quite good to do in only a few hours.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    NEWSFLASH: Initiating sudden and common emergency steering manuevers can cause your top-heavy, high-center-of-gravity non-sports car to possible topple.

    PERSONAL NOTE: After 160,000 miles, I still haven’t flipped my Trooper.

  • avatar
    gsnfan

    This isn’t a big seller anyway. The status crowd that wants an SUV seems to go for the RX (and the RXh if they think it’s cool to be “green”). The ones with the real money go for the LX. I saw a few GX470s, but most of the new GX460s I think I see are LXs.


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