According to a recent Consumer Reports test (I know, CR…bear with me on this one), the emergency trunk release on the 2013 Lexus ES and GS saloons (that’s sedans for Americans) is reportedly defective. More specifically, if the trunk release is pulled the wrong way, the handle easily breaks.
This may not seem like a big deal to you, or to anyone else that you know, but more often than not, children can find themselves trapped in the backseat of a car. Whenever I was an Internet Sales Manager for a Lincoln-Mercury dealership, I used to joke with customers about how we lost a lot of sales to the Mafia once they started putting these into their Town Cars. Surprisingly, most people laughed. I refrained from making that joke with my Italian customers though.
But seriously, if anyone were to be locked into a trunk, chances are, they’re not thinking rationally. Even if you’re walking them through trying to find and activate the emergency trunk release, if they start to panic, they could easily pull it the wrong way and break it off. Of course, many Toyotas come with folding rear seats, but it’s next to impossible to activate the lever from inside the vehicle. They were designed on the premise that they were to be used while someone was standing outside of the vehicle, preferably in a standing position.
In any event, Consumer Reports has reported this issue to Toyota and the NHTSA. I’m assuming that both parties will be conducting their own investigations, so look for a recall to be announced (more than likely from Toyota, as they’re in damage control mode now from their massive recalls and sales decrease in China from last week) shortly. Hopefully this issue can be quickly repaired before anyone is seriously injured and/or killed. Given that this technology has been out for at least a decade or so, there’s really no good excuse for something as simple as an emergency trunk release handle breaking…this is poor design and execution on Toyota’s part.