Toyota Motor Corp may recall up to 270,000 vehicles worldwide to fix an engine glitch, with Japan's Asahi newspaper reporting the move could cost the car maker up to 20 billion yen ($228 million).
Toyota said it would file the recall in Japan on Monday, covering 90,000 high-end sedans, as the world's largest automaker continues to ramp up its safety oversight following a string of recalls.
An official at Japan's transport ministry said he had been informed that Toyota was also planning a recall in North America and Europe. Toyota officials in the United States said an internal investigation will be completed next week into the engines, but they did not say whether the cars would be recalled.
Toyota declined to confirm the reported cost estimate for the recalls, which would amount to a relatively steep 74,000 yen ($844) a vehicle.
Since last September, Toyota has been plagued by a safety crisis that has led to the recall of more than 10 million vehicles globally, mostly for potential unintended acceleration. About 7.3 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States, the automaker's biggest market.
The latest potential safety defect covers seven Lexus sedan models and the Toyota Crown sedan whose engines could stall in rare cases due to faulty valve springs. About half of the 270,000 vehicles were sold in the United States.
No accidents or injuries have been reported, Toyota said.
The Lexus models in the possible stalling issue are the GS 350, GS 450h, GS 460, IS 350, LS 460, LS 600h and LS 600hl. The models marked by h are gasoline-electric hybrids.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had not received any communication from Toyota regarding the issue by Thursday, according to a Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
The recall would be the second for the luxury Lexus brand since last Friday, when Toyota told U.S. and Canadian safety regulators it was halting sales and recalling about 17,000 Lexus HS 250h hybrid sedans due to a potential fuel leak.
Toyota acted following a U.S. government crash test that showed fuel leaking after an HS 250h was struck from the rear by a car traveling about 50 miles per hour.
Some 13,000 HS 250h vehicles were sold in the United States, and about 17,000 have been built to sell in the U.S. market, Toyota told its U.S. Lexus dealers in a letter last Friday.
Toyota's own crash test did not show the fuel leak problem. The automaker, in the letter to U.S. Lexus dealers, said it was trying to understand why the government tests showed the fuel leakage problem while the company's own crash tests did not.
The automaker told dealers it has not received any reports of injuries or accidents linked to the potential problem with the HS 250h sedan.
Toyota shares ended flat on Friday morning in Tokyo, roughly in line with Japan's benchmark Nikkei average.
(Additional reporting by Yumiko Nishitani and Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo; Editing by Maureen Bavdek, Matthew Lewis and Carol Bishopric)