Toyota Recalls another 2.3 Million Vehicles
By Brendan Moore
The bad news concerning recalls keeps coming over at Toyota, with the company announcing yesterday that they intend to issue a recall for 2.3 million vehicles over possible sticking accelerators.
The action signals the second large recall of Toyota Motor Corp. vehicles in the last four months, following a recall of 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles for a faulty floormat issue, which potentially could jam a vehicle’s accelerator.
Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the previous recall has to do with pedal entrapment (by the floormat) and the current recall involves a faulty pedal design by a supplier.
Yesterday’s news accomplishes exactly what Toyota doesn’t want to occur; that is, forcing consumers to once again consider Toyota’s unintended acceleration problems. Toyota’s American customers are famously loyal to the company, but a steady drumbeat of recalls over serious safety issues will erode the strength of any brand, given enough time.
Toyota is certainly not in that situation yet. In 2009, Toyota recalled more vehicles (for various problems) than any other manufacturer in North America, yet, showed healthy gains in market share, and finished the year with a flourish, notching a unit sales gain of over 30% for the month of December.
Still, perhaps as many as a million Toyota owners may receive both recalls regarding possible unintended acceleration because of the overlap between affected models, and that is not what anyone would consider confidence-inducing in the short-term.
Toyota, to their credit, is scrambling to fix the problems, and, as announced by Yoshi Inaba, president of Toyota North America, at the Detroit Auto Show, intends to also install a brake override system on every new Toyota, Scion and Lexus vehicle manufactured from this point forward. Which won’t be cheap, and won’t be easy, but nonetheless, is what the company has committed to as part of the solution for this safety issue.
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Toyota’s official press release:
Toyota Files Voluntary Safety Recall on Select Toyota Division Vehicles for Sticking Accelerator Pedal
• Lexus and Scion Models Not Affected
• Filing Addresses Isolated Customer Complaints
• Separate From On-Going Recall Involving Floor Mat Pedal Entrapment Issue
TORRANCE, Calif., Jan. 21 — Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced it would recall approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on specific Toyota Division models. This action is separate from the on-going recall of approximately 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to reduce the risk of pedal entrapment by incorrect or out of place accessory floor mats. Approximately 1.7 million Toyota Division vehicles are subject to both separate recall actions.
“In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,” said TMS Group Vice President Irv Miller. “Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position. Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action.”
Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall is confined to the following Toyota Division vehicles:
• 2009-2010 RAV4,
• 2009-2010 Corolla,
• 2009-2010 Matrix,
• 2005-2010 Avalon,
• 2007-2010 Camry,
• 2010 Highlander,
• 2007-2010 Tundra,
• 2008-2010 Sequoia
No Lexus Division or Scion vehicles are affected by this recall action. Also not affected are Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids.
The condition is rare, but can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position. Toyota is working quickly to prepare the correction remedy.
In the event that a driver experiences an accelerator pedal that sticks in a partial open throttle position or returns slowly to idle position, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. The brakes should not be pumped repeatedly because it could deplete vacuum assist, requiring stronger brake pedal pressure. The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.
Toyota will continue to investigate incidents of unwanted acceleration and take appropriate measures to address any trends that are identified.
Toyota owners who have questions or concerns should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.