Toyota knew about Lexus problem 2 years ago

In this undated product image from Toyota Motors Corp., the 2010 Lexus GX460 is shown. (AP Photo/Toyota Motors Corp.)

July 6, 2010 7:51:43 AM PDT
A company official says Toyota knew about the engine problem in the Lexus and Crown vehicles two years ago but didn't think a recall was warranted at the time. The official says the company changed the spring part to correct the problem. A global recall is now under way to repair some 270,000 vehicles to replace engine components that could cause stalling.

A spokesman tells The Associated Press that the world's top automaker previously thought the problem was caused by a foreign substance entering during manufacturing of the valve springs, and beefed up checks so that wouldn't happen.

The spokesman says the complaints started climbing, and Toyota decided recently there was a design defect.

Toyota had promised to recall problem cars more quickly after its reputation was tattered after recalls ballooned to more than 8.5 million since October.