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Emergency trunk lever in Lexus sedans breaks easily-magazine

By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Co's 2013 Lexus ES and GS models have an emergency trunk lever that snaps off easily and may trap someone inside, Consumer Reports magazine said on Friday.

The issue was discovered inadvertently when the young son of Jake Fisher, automotive testing director for the magazine, climbed into the trunk of a Lexus ES sedan that Fisher was testing.

"My four-year-old son, who is 30 pounds soaking wet, was knocking on the trunk, saying 'Dad, let me out,'" Fisher, who was standing nearby, said, the lever "had snapped right off."

Since the 2002 model year, cars with trunks have included a lever that glows in the dark, allowing a person to open the trunk from the inside by tugging the handle.

But in the Lexus, the lever snaps off when it is pulled toward the driver's side, Fisher said. It works when the lever is pulled straight down or toward the passenger side.

Consumer Reports notified both Lexus and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Spokespeople for Lexus and NHTSA were not immediately available for comment.

Toyota is trying to boost its Lexus brand by appealing to younger buyers interested in sportier cars. Lexus yielded its top spot in the U.S. luxury market last year due to lost sales after the Japan earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.

Earlier this week, a Toyota executive said it had "high hurdles" in achieving the brand's 500,000 global sales target after sales slumped in China.

(Reporting By Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

((deepa.seetharaman@thomsonreuters.com)(313-416-4074))

Keywords: LEXUS LATCH/