82,000 Toyota hybrid SUVs recalled in U.S.

Models sold in the United States of this

Models sold in the United States of this 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, as well as those of 2007, are being recalled for possibly faulty wiring in their computer boards. (Credit: Wieck Media Services)

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TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it will recall about 82,200 hybrid SUVs in the United States because of computer boards with possible faulty wiring.

The car giant said the recall will involve Highlander and Lexus brand hybrid SUVs from its 2006 and 2007 lines. The action covers just the vehicles sold in the United States with no other models affected.

The recall is the latest setback for Toyota, which is just recovering from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated a northern industrial area of Japan in March.

The company earlier this month predicted annual profit will fall nearly a third due to recent production disruptions related to the disasters, though it expects a strong rebound in the coming months.

It also recalled 106,000 first-generation Prius hybrid cars globally on June 1 for faulty steering caused by a nut that may come loose. The single minor accident suspected of being related to the problem was reported in the United States.

Wednesday's recall involves about 45,500 Highlander Hybrid and 36,700 Lexus Rx 400h vehicles, the company's U.S. subsidiary said in a news release.

Toyota said the affected vehicles' hybrid system has a computer board with inadequate soldering that could be damaged during high-load driving. If damage were to occur, the company said the vehicles would either continue to operate under reduced power for a short distance, or coast to a stop.

The automaker said it is working on obtaining replacement parts, and for now will notify owners of possibly faulty vehicles by mid-July.

Toyota was recovering from a series of recalls that soiled its reputation for safety and eventually reached 14 million vehicles worldwide when the natural disasters struck in March.

The company said last week it will hire 3,000 to 4,000 temporary workers in Japan to be ready for a recovery in vehicle production as automakers bounce back and revamp their operations.

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