Toyota knew about Lexus problem 2 years ago

A company official says Toyota knew about theengine problem in the Lexus and Crown vehicles two years ago butdidn't think a recall was warranted at the time.

The official says the company changed the spring part to correctthe problem. A global recall is now under way to repair some270,000 vehicles to replace engine components that could causestalling.

A spokesman tells The Associated Press that the world's topautomaker previously thought the problem was caused by a foreignsubstance entering during manufacturing of the valve springs, andbeefed up checks so that wouldn't happen.

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

Toyota had promised to recall problem cars more quickly afterits reputation was tattered after recalls ballooned to more than8.5 million since October.

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