Toyota recalls 1.5 million cars over brake fluid leak

The world's largest auto maker, which was battered by a global safety crisis earlier this year, said it would voluntarily recall 740,000 cars in the United States and almost 600,000 in Japan to fix the problem.It was also recalling 50,000 autos in Europe, 60,000 in China, 30,000 in Australia and 50,000 in other Asian nations, said a Toyota spokesman in Japan.

He said that no accidents had been linked to the defect.Toyota is recalling the cars to repair a flaw in which "a small amount of the brake fluid could slowly leak from the brake master cylinder", which would lead the brake warning lamp to illuminate, the company said."

If at this point the brake fluid is not replaced, "the driver will begin to notice a spongy or soft brake pedal feel and braking performance may gradually decline," Toyota USA said in a statement.

The autos affected are the 2005-2006 models of the Avalon, the 2004 through 2006 non-hybrid models of the Highlander, the Lexus RX330, and the 2006 Lexus GS300, IS250 and S350 vehicles, Toyota USA said in a statement.

US owners of affected vehicles will be notified by early November, it said.In Japan, Toyota announced it would recall more than 600,000 cars spanning 13 models, including the Crown, Mark X, Lexus IS and GS, according to filings submitted with the transport ministry.

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