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Lexus to fix flimsy emergency trunk-release handles

Consumer Reports locked a 4-year-old inside the trunk to find the problem.

By Exhaust Notes Dec 12, 2012 11:58AM
Toyota will fix emergency trunk-release handles on 700,000 Lexus models next month after Consumer Reports found they broke easily when pulled.

While it's not a full-scale recall, the magazine has notified Toyota and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is the last word on whether a recall would be required.

The small, glow-in-the-dark pull tags on the trunk lining of new Lexus IS, ES and GS models can snap off when pulled. They've been mandatory on all new cars since 2002 to prevent people from being trapped inside a locked trunk.

But that's exactly what happened when Consumer Reports discovered the problem. Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing, locked his 4-year-old son in the trunk of a Lexus ES 350. When the tag broke, Fisher tried pulling the tags on the magazine's other Lexus models and found the same problem. The trunks in all of the other cars in CR fleet popped open just fine. (As a car enthusiast, Fisher's son loves to poke around new cars and hopped inside the trunk with his father's OK. Talk about being thorough.)

Toyota will replace the tags beginning in late January with a "more robust polypropylene unit, strengthened with supporting ridges," the magazine said.

We're really impressed with Toyota's response on what is, admittedly, a minor issue. Is there anything Consumer Reports can't compel automakers to change?

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Dec 12, 2012 9:59PM

Great but next time do it yourself, don't endanger a 4 year old!

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