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Last week, Toyota announced a recall of more than 400,000 older model Avalons and Lexuses due to potential steering problems.

The Japanese automaker said the recall would affect 373,000 Toyota Avalons manufactured between 2000 to 2004. The company said the vehicle’s steering lock bar could break under certain conditions, increasing the risk of a crash.

Toyota also cited steering issues in its recall of some 39,000 Lexus LX 470 vehicles. The company said that if the vehicle experienced a severe impact to the front wheels, such as striking a pothole, the steering shaft could disengage over time. The recall only affects vehicles from model years 2003 to 2007.

"Toyota is continuing to work diligently to address safety issues wherever they arise and to strengthen our global quality assurance operations so that Toyota owners can be confident in the safety of their vehicles," Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America, said in a statement Thursday. –CNN

Somewhat suspiciously, Toyota announced the recall less than two week after being subpoenaed by a federal grand jury for company documents relating to steering problems in Toyota vehicles. Since the company has a history of deliberately concealing potential safety issues from the American public—it knew about problems with the breaking system on its 2010 Prius for months before saying a word—it’s hard to believe that it’s suddenly being preemptive about vehicle safety.

Owners of the recalled Avalons and Lexus will receive notice about the recall in a couple of weeks, and will be able to have their cars repaired at a local dealer free of charge.

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