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Toyota recalls Lexus sedans in China

BEIJING, Jan. 25 -- Toyota Motor Corp, Japan's leading automaker, said yesterday it started recalling 1,717 Lexus vehicles sold on the Chinese mainland due to possible fuel pump defects.

The recall will affect Lexus LS430 sedans made between July 29, 2003, and March 8, 2004, Toyota Motor (China) Limited said in a statement.

The company, which is based in Hong Kong and responsible for Toyota's exports to China, applied to the mainland's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to recall the sedans.

"Impellers in the fuel pumps may be distorted. If the condition is serious, pumps will not work and result in the explosion of the engine," the company said.

Authorized Lexus dealerships on the mainland, whose numbers will jump from six to 14 by the middle of this year, will help owners of Lexus 430 sedans replace their cars' fuel pumps free of charge.

The recall will end on April 30, the company said.

This is Toyota's second recall of Lexus vehicles on the mainland in seven months.

Last July, Toyota ordered back in 1,489 Lexus LS430 sedans due to problems with the model's transmission.

Toyota is currently importing and selling the Lexus LS430, GS300, RX300 and IS200 on the mainland and will launch the Lexus GS430 later this year.

Analysts say auto recalls will become more frequent in China with growing vehicle sales and the implementation of compulsory vehicle recall regulations last October.

A number of other foreign automakers have also been forced to order mainland recalls over the past year, including Mitsubishi Motors, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

Automakers in China - including Sino-foreign joint ventures - which have shunned auto recalls in the past due to a lack of legislation, have also begun recalling defective products.

Last year, seven automakers in China, such as Chang'an Suzuki, First Automotive Works Car Co Ltd, Dongfeng Peugeot Citroen and Guangzhou Honda, recalled 305,000 faulty vehicles, according to statistics from the quality administration.

BMW's joint venture with Brilliance China Auto recalled 1,685 BMW 5 Series sedans earlier this year. (Source: China Daily)