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Toyota testing all SUVs for rollover risk

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Toyota's woes grow
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Toyota tests all SUVs
  • Toyota: Suspension of Lexus GX 460 expands to the Middle East and Russia
  • Consumer Reports magazine cites turnover risk in warning not to buy SUV
  • Magazine: Concern magnified because Lexus GX 460 has high center of gravity
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Tokyo, Japan (CNN) -- Toyota announced Thursday that it is testing all of its sports utility vehicles after it suspended worldwide sales of the Lexus GX 460 due to a reported risk of rollover.

Toyota does not plan to suspend the sales of the other vehicles it is testing, said Ririko Takeuchi, a spokeswoman. But the company will suspend Lexus GX 460 sales.

Consumer Reports magazine warned readers on Tuesday not to buy the sport-utility vehicle because it could turn over in hard turns. Shortly after the magazine issued its warning, Toyota announced it was suspending sales of the luxury vehicle in the United States and Canada.

Toyota spokeswoman Mieko Iwasaki said Thursday that the company was expanding the suspension to the Middle East and Russia, the only other markets where it was sold.

"We have no specific target in mind when to resume the sales," she said. "We are now investigating the case by trying to replicate the situation that Consumer Reports pointed out."

Consumer Reports said it judged the 2010 model to be a safety risk because of a problem that cropped up during standard emergency-handling tests. "When pushed to its limits on our track's handling course, the rear of the GX we bought slid out until the vehicle was almost sideways before the electronic stability control system was able to regain control," the magazine reported.

"We believe that in real-world driving, that situation could lead to a rollover accident, which could cause serious injury or death. We are not aware, however, of any such reports."

Is Toyota 'moving forward' as its tagline says?

The editors said their concern about rollover risk was magnified because the vehicle has a high center of gravity.

The magazine recommended that current owners drive carefully when exiting the highway or driving on twisty roads, while the carmaker prepares a software update for the stability-control system.

Toyota put total sales at 5,400 in North America, 400 in the Middle East and 140 in Russia.

In its response, Toyota said its engineers conducted similar tests and found no such issues.

Edmunds.com lists the price for a new 2010 Lexus GX 460 as beginning at $51,970.