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Consumer Reports Helps War On Toyota

From the safety first Associated Press:

Consumer Reports calls Lexus GX 460 unsafe


April 13, 2010

NEW YORK — Consumer Reports has given the Lexus GX 460 SUV a rare "Don’t Buy" warning, saying a problem that occurred during routine handling tests could lead to a rollover accident in real-world driving.

In the latest blow to Toyota’s reputation, the magazine said that during a test of the vehicle’s performance during unusual turns, the rear of the vehicle slid until it was nearly sideways before the electronic stability control system kicked in.

Consumer Reports said in real-world driving, such a scenario could cause a rollover accident. As a result, the magazine has given the seven-seat SUV a "Don’t Buy: Safety Risk" label until the problem is fixed

Consumer Reports said the last vehicle to receive such a warning was the 2001 Mitsubishi Montero Limited. It said among the 95 SUVs in its current ratings, no other slid as far as the GX 460…

Starting at about $52,000, the GX 460 is a small-volume vehicle for Lexus, Toyota Motor Corp.’s luxury brand. It went on sale in November and only about 5,000 have been sold since then. But the warning represents yet another blow for Toyota’s tarnished reputation for safety following recalls of millions of vehicles for faulty gas pedals. The GX 460 is not covered by the pedal recalls…

However, Consumer Reports said it is not aware of any reports of the vehicle rolling over. The magazine said it tested two separate vehicles, both of which experienced the problem, but neither rolled over

Consumer Reports spokesman Matt Fields said it is "very rare" for the magazine to caution consumers against buying a vehicle because of safety concerns. The Mitsubishi Montero, a large SUV, received such a warning in its August 2001 issue after testers claimed its wheels lifted off the ground during standard avoidance-maneuver tests, he said.

At the time, Mitsubishi disputed the magazine’s findings and did not make any modifications to the vehicle, Mitsubishi spokesman Dan Irvin said. The Montero remained on sale in the U.S. until 2007 and continues to be sold overseas as the Mitsubishi Pajero, he said.

Look for the union labor.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, April 13th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

22 Responses to “Consumer Reports Helps War On Toyota”

  1. bill says:

    I actually test drove one of these Lexus models, and found the same problem when I pushed it around. Something was not right with the electronic stability control …

    Sometimes there is a bit of truth in there.

  2. AcornsRNutz says:

    I guarantee I can make the rear end of any vehicle made step out if I try some kind of oddball manuever. Although I am not sure of any underhanded collusion against the car in question by Consumer reports and or the UAW, I have a general objection to the idea that ths vehicle is unfit to drive. They were unable to get the thing to tip over, so that says a lot about the vehicle. Just because a vehicle can’t prevent you from crashing doesn’t make it unsafe.

  3. Astravogel says:

    I believe Consumer Reports said the vehicle’s reah end would swing
    out wide, (wider than you’d expect) and it it hit a curb, over it would go.

    Democratica delinda est!

  4. Astravogel says:

    I believe Consumer Reports said the vehicle’s reah end would swing
    out wide, (wider than you’d expect) and if it hit a curb, over it would go.

    Democratica delinda est!

  5. fallingpianos says:

    Consumer Reports has done this before. From Randall Hoven’s “Dishonest 101” list at the American Thinker in his article “Media Dishonesty Matters” (October 8, 2007):

    # 35. Consumer Reports, Suzuki Samurai rollover story. (1988) False reporting. After CR reported that the Samurai “easily rolls over in turns”, Samurai sales plummeted. Suzuki sued Consumers Union, parent of Consumer Reports, and the suit was settled in 1999, with CU admitting that “Samurai’s real world rollover accident performance was within a range with other utility vehicles” and that “National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others have criticized the CU tests.”

    Here is the joint public statement from Consumer’s Union and Suzuki after dismissal of Suzuki’s lawsuit: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/suzuki-and-consumers-union-agree-on-lawsuit-dismissal/overview/index.htm

    • proreason says:

      It’s hard not to be cynical. I’ve always viewed Consumer Reports as one of the most trustworthy organizations.

      I raised an eyebrow about Steve’s initial report because I’m convinced there is an organized attack on Toyota, but it didn’t fit with my view about CU. Then we had the reports from others saying the car actually does drive funny and the counter that you can make any car dangerous if you try hard enough.

      Now this.

      I need a nap.

    • PusDal says:

      Interesting joint statement.

      “CU disagrees with NHTSA’s position”

      “CU stands by its test protocol and findings”

      “Suzuki recognizes CU’s stated commitment for objective and unbiased testing and reporting”

      Hoven is complaining about other media outlets being dishonest?
      He also needs to take note that the ‘easily rollover in turns’ phrase didn’t appear in print until the 1996 issue, a year after the Samurai was discountinued, so it couldn’t have contributed to plummeting sales.

      Suzuki sues for 60 million, and settles for no money and no retratction, not even an apology. Frivoulous lawsuit, if you ask me.

    • proreason says:

      gee PusDal, the statement seems pretty explicit. Here’s another bit:

      “CU never intended to state or imply that the Samurai easily rolls over in routine driving conditions. Subsequent to 1988, several other SUVs have tipped up either in CU’s tests or in U.S. government tests.” I would have thought that someone as objective as yourself would have included that one.

      Moveover, the “summary” on the CU website in the link above is disingenuous. It omits the money quote that Hoven found…you know, this one ““Samurai’s real world rollover accident performance was within a range with other utility vehicles”

      So my reading is that, in this case anyway, the CU is a real snake in the grass.

      But thanks for coming onto the site and spreading your disinformation. We love trolls here. I assume you either work for the CU or the gubamint.

      How’s life in lib land working our for ya nowadays? Have you confiscated all your “benefits” yet?

  6. bill says:

    I drive pretty well, and can make lots of cars do my dance if I want. If not the first time then with a short familiarity. Not a race driver by any means, but my sport BMW V8 5er will do it’s jig. I don’t claim 10/10ths driving, but it’s up there.

    I push cars when I test drive, and for some reason, for the first time, this sucker had really slow reaction to swift steerage inputs and then responded suddenly lurching the car. I then tried to make the ABS get on hard, smoke em, and in swayed badly right, then back. It did stop, ABS kicked in, but not straight and steady like my bimmer does. Transition behavior sounds a whole lot like what Consumer Reports said. I didn’t think anything more about, didn’t like the car for this and other reasons, until today when I saw the news.

    I drove another to see if it did the same and seemed to do so. The sales guy was shaking by now. That was enough for me to walk away.

    The sales guy with me asked was I done after the last stop … More information is necessary, and cars can have defects, but I would caution, don’t slam CR until then.

    • BillK says:

      It’s an SUV. SUVs have a high center of gravity. You can’t deny physics.

      You can make just about any SUV roll if you give it sharp enough inputs.

      The question is, does it meet US standards, not is there anything you can do to make it roll.

    • AcornsRNutz says:

      I defer to your obviously more extensive experience, but it sounds more like a quirky traction/stability control program than a dangerous vehicle. Lexus is notorious for overly obtrusive stabilty/trac systems that tests in motor trend/car and driver etc have described as numb. I too tend to trust CR, but it seems like they went a little far by saying its a DO NOT BUY without actually having achieved a rollover. In the end, SUVs are tippy during manuevers that would barely make your 5 series flinch. This is why I prefer rear wheel drive V8 sedans. At least then you expect them to wag the rear end.

  7. 64dodger says:

    Worst-Made Cars on the Road
    by Hannah Elliott
    Friday, April 9, 2010
    provided by

    If you want to drive something dependable and long-lasting, steer clear of these vehicles.

    With a 22% improvement in sales last month, and despite the six-month, $4.3 billion loss it announced Wednesday, General Motors is likely to have its strongest spring and summer in years. Plus, the automaker had critically acclaimed new products at the recent New York Auto Show and the much-anticipated Chevrolet Volt is due out this fall.

    More from Forbes.com:

    • In Depth: Worst-Made Cars On The Road

    • Navigating Your Way Through Traffic

    • Cars With the Best Gas Mileage

    Year-over-year sales of GM’s Cadillac division alone are up almost 76%; sales in the Buick, Chevrolet and GMC divisions were each up more than 40% for March. The industry as a whole was up 24.3%.

    Unfortunately just because GM’s cars are selling well now doesn’t mean they’re the best bet for durability or value — yet. It’ll take awhile before GM’s new direction shows up in tangible new products at the dealership.

    Four of the seven vehicles on our list of the worst-made cars on the road come from GM brands. And all of the cars on the list — including Chrysler’s Dodge Nitro and Jeep Wrangler — are made by Detroit’s Big Three. Only one car on the list is made by Ford Motor (NYSE: F).


  8. confucius says:

    It should be noted that the GX 460 meets or exceeds all federal government testing requirements.

    Perhaps Consumer Reports should label Uncle Sam “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk.”

  9. U NO HOO says:

    Maybe the thing had slippery tires.

    That’s all.

    And “poor” weight distribution.

    That’s all too.

  10. U NO HOO says:

    From somewhere unknown:

    “The Lexus GX460, the lush version of Toyota’s archaic, body-on-frame 4Runner”

    CR says what about the 4Runner?

  11. cinderellastory says:

    S & L

    You are right look for the union.

    Note that the Consumers Union. is the nonprofit publisher of Consumers Report.


    They were also big pushers of ObamaCare.

  12. Liberals Make Great Speedbumps says:

    There’s no way I’m going to start suspecting an organized conspiracy against Toyota until NBC starts taping model rocket motors to the car’s fuel tanks! The evidence for such just isn’t there. /sarc

  13. Mithrandir says:


    The hit-job on Toyota, a-la Saul Alinsky, is full swing.

    Remember NBC rigging explosives on vehicles to show how unsafe they were?

    Can you trust anyone in this world? It’s easy to be a skeptic.

  14. oldguy says:

    It may be time for Toyota to bring suit in the World court against the US government.

  15. U NO HOO says:

    Didn’t consumers union start out as a communist front organization?

  16. U NO HOO says:


    Toyota introduces the Corona in the U.S. It lists for less than $2000. Consumer Reports tests a Corona the next year and gives it a favorable review, particularly its “special virtues for long-distance driving.” In the tests, it surpasses the Volkswagen “Beetle,” but not the Opal Kadett.”

    [Opel Kadett is/was a GM product}

    The rest is as they say history also.

  17. xdannyh says:

    Wow that 460 is some ugly duckling. please forgive my layman’s view that in my estimation the vehicle has a short wheel base and looks to stand very tall. If that is true, coupled with front wheel drive and 7 overweight fast food enjoyers, there could be a problem when going over the safe speed limit in sharp turns DUH! But hey what do I know? I really think we should call in Ralph Nader to give us the straight dope on just what is going on here!

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