Toyota will delay it’s launch of GX 460 in China, and it would conduct safety tests on all its sport utility models.
The move focuses renewed attention on Toyota’s safety and quality at a time when the world’s largest automaker has been struggling to recapture lost sales momentum after a string of damaging global recalls.
ven though the Lexus GX has been a low-volume model for Toyota, its potential safety problem threatens a further erosion in the once market-leading reputation of Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand, one analyst said.
“Even though the vehicle’s volume is a relatively small part of (Toyota’s) sales, as Toyota’s quality issues are now affecting Lexus too, we think the cost to repair the dented brands is poised to rise,” said S&P equity analyst Efraim Levy.
The Lexus GX starts at $50,000 in the U.S. market and the high-margin on the premium vehicles developed using Toyota’s mass-market vehicle platforms and parts has been a key part of its past financial success.