Toyota has denied a report by Japan’s Kyodo News agency that it will voluntarily recall its Lexus GX460 SUV sold in North America, Russia and the Middle East which earlier this week was declared a safety risk by US magazine Consumer Reports.

Spokeswoman Ririko Takeuchi said the company was currently carrying out its own tests on the GX460, and sales of the model have been suspended. Production will also be suspended for nine working days, starting tomorrow (Friday 16 April), in light of the sales halt.

Toyota is understood to be looking at the electronic control system of the SUV responsible for stabilising the vehicle when in motion. It is also said to be conducting a similar study on the Land Cruiser Prado [Colorado in some markets], whose platform is the same as that of the Lexus.

Earlier this week Consumer Reports magazine warned against buying the GX460, describing it as a “safety risk” because of a potential handling problem in turns.

While the GX is a low-volume model, potential safety problem threatens a further erosion in Toyota’s market-leading reputation following its other recall issues this year.

The company has recalled more than 8m vehicles worldwide and has been penalised by US safety regulators for not acting quickly enough once it identified a defect in accelerator pedals.

The Japanese built Lexus GX 460 has sold 5,400 units in the US and Canada in the four months since it has been on sale. Another 580 units have been sold in the Middle East and Russia.

However Takeuchi said the company had received no reports of the problems described by Consumer Reports from GX 460 drivers. Until and unless Toyota identifies a safety defect, it cannot evaluate whether a recall is needed.

She added: “There is no way of recalling a car – voluntarily or otherwise – unless we find something wrong with the car, and we haven’t done that yet. It’s premature to talk about any recall steps at this point.”

The US government has mandated that electronic stability control be standard on all vehicles by the 2012 model year. Electronic stability control is especially important on SUVs because taller vehicles are at greater danger for rollover crashes.

Consumer Reports magazine, which is considered an influential voice on vehicle quality, has called electronic stability control the most important development in vehicle safety since the seatbelt.