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Toyota to recall luxury cars over engine problems

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Toyota Motor Co. plans to start recalling luxury vehicles possibly affected by engine problems on Monday.

Toyota will submit documents to recall of 90,000 vehicles in Japan on Monday, company spokesman Mieko Iwasaki told CNN. Recall announcements in other regions will subsequently be handled by each country individually.

On Thursday, Toyota said it was investigating engine problems affecting 270,000 vehicles worldwide. Small valve springs that were made from low-quality metal could crack, potentially causing engines to stall, said Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco.

In most cases, owners will experience only abnormal idling or engine noise, Toyota said in a written statement, although even that was described as a "remote possibility."

Approximately 137,000 vehicles in the U.S. are potentially affected, the automaker said. The cars sold in the U.S. that could be affected include the Lexus IS 350, GS 350, GS 460, GS 450h, LS 460, LS 600hL. All are luxury sedans and two, the GS 450h and LS 600hL, are hybrid cars.

Only cars from model years earlier than 2010 could be involved, Toyota said.

Also involved is the Toyota Crown, a large luxury car that is not sold in the United States.

Toyota has not received any reports of injuries or fatalities related to the issue, the automaker said.

Toyota's Lexus luxury division will announce a remedy for the problem as soon as possible, the automaker said in its statement.

"In the meantime, we sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience and request that they contact their nearest Lexus dealer if they believe there is a problem with their vehicle," said Mark Templin, general manager for Lexus in the U.S.

Toyota has been dealing with a long-running spate of quality and safety problems.

Toyota has, in recent months, recalled more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for a variety of potential safety issues including possible unintended acceleration and problems with anti-lock brake software.

Most recently, the automaker recalled some Lexus SUVs because of problems with electronic stability control software.

In a recent J.D. Power survey of initial quality, Toyota slipped to 21st place this year from 6th place last year.

CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki and CNNMoney.com senior writer Chris Isidore contributed to this report. To top of page

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