WASHINGTON - Toyota said Friday it will recall 17,000 Lexus luxury hybrids after testing showed that fuel can spill during a rear end crash.
The Japanese automaker said tests conducted for the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration found that fuel leaked during a rear impact crash at 50 miles per hour on a 2010 HS250h sedan. The test, conducted by a NHTSA contractor, showed that fuel spilled as the vehicle spun around after impact.
Toyota's own testing has not shown any spillage, but a spokesman said the company plans to issue a voluntary recall as it continues to try to replicate the government's results. It is notifying dealers to stop selling the car.
Toyota, the world's largest automaker, has attempted to rebound from a series of recalls tied to reports of unintended acceleration and other defects. The Obama administration penalized Toyota with a record $16.4 million fine for acting too slowly on the recalls.
Dealers have repaired millions of vehicles, but the auto giant faces more than 200 lawsuits connected to accidents and the lower resale value of vehicles.
Earlier this week, Toyota Motor Corp. president Akio Toyoda, the grandson of the automaker's founder, apologized to shareholders for the trouble caused by the recalls. He said the company was doing its best to improve quality control.
Toyota said it has not identified a fix for the reported problems of fuel spillage.