If you’ve ever been kidnapped by the mob and locked in a trunk, you know that an emergency trunk escape lever comes in handy. Toyota’s Lexus line features this very convenience in some models, but according to Consumer Reports, the escape levers can break off if pulled the wrong way. Talk about a mean-spirited tease.
Toyota ‘is expected’ to notify Lexus owners
Consumer Reports indicates that while Toyota has not issued an official release regarding the defective emergency truck escape lever, the Japanese automaker “is expected” to notify owners of the Lexus models in question come January 2013. Approximately 700,000 Lexus vehicles are affected by the latch issue, which reportedly will not result in a recall, but a quick in-dealership modification that replaces a plastic part with a more durable polypropylene one.
The Lexus vehicles with the faulty emergency trunk escape lever include 2007 through 2013 model year Lexus ES vehicles, as well as 2006 through 2012 Lexus IS and 2013 Lexus GS models.
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That a consumer magazine pointed this Lexus issue out in the first place is odd. Such investigations of defects are typically initiated by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
No Lexus recall required for trunk issue
Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ automotive testing lead, noted that the emergency trunk escape lever issue was discovered almost as an afterthought during testing.
“While not a regular part of the Consumer Reports test program, the organization found that the emergency interior trunk escape lever on a 2013 Lexus ES and GS it tested can easily snap off during use, potentially leaving a trapped occupant without any way to escape,” said Fisher.
In response to the defect, Toyota has issued a statement acknowledging that Consumer Reports has brought the emergency trunk escape lever issue to its attention. Toyota specified that the defect is most evident if the lever is pulled in the wrong direction, and that no recall would be necessary in order to deal with the problem. No reports of individuals being trapped, injured of killed by the emergency trunk escape lever issue have been issued by non-stool pigeons.
What Toyota is doing for Lexus trunks
Toyota will replace the plastic emergency trunk escape lever with a thicker, more durable polypropylene version
To correct the problem, Toyota is replacing the plastic release with a more robust polypropylene unit, as well as stronger support ridges within the unit. All new Lexus vehicles will have the upgrade; previously purchased Lexus models with the defect can be adjusted at a Lexus dealership.