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Lexus SUV models included in latest Toyota runaway acceleration recall

This file photo provided by Lexus shows the 2010 RX 350. (Lexus)

June 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Toyota is adding two Lexus SUV models in the company's runaway acceleration recall.

The auto giant announced Friday that it will recall 154,000 of the 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450H SUVs because their floor mats can trap the gas pedal and cause the cars to speed up without warning.

U.S. safety regulators, who asked Toyota to recall the vehicles, may investigate whether the company reported the problem fast enough.

The recall adds to a string of safety recalls that began in 2009. The automaker has recalled more than 14 million vehicles globally to fix problems including sticky gas pedals and floor mats. The recall tainted the Japanese company's reputation for reliability and cut into sales. Toyota says it thought the acceleration problem had been solved when it began selling the SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration sought the latest recall after investigating complaints from customers and information from the company. The agency does not believe any additional Toyota vehicles have the same problem.

If NHTSA decides to open an investigation, it wouldn't be the first dustup between Toyota and the agency. In 2010 and 2011, Toyota paid a record $48.8 million in fines to the government for failing to promptly alert regulators to safety problems.

The agency recommended that owners of the Lexus SUVs should take out the driver's side floor mat and have their vehicles serviced as quickly as possible. Toyota said consumers will be notified of the problem by mail in early August, and dealers will fix it for free.

Experts say if your car accelerates unexpectedly, you should step on the brake and shift into neutral, steer safely to the roadside and shut off the engine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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