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Toyota Announces Massive Campaign To “Fix” Runaway Cars

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, February 01, 2010 11:13 AM EST
Category: On The Road
Tags: Toyota, Recalls, Floor Mats, Power Start-Stop Button, Acceleration, Prius, Lexus

Toyota has announced a massive "fix" campaign for sudden acceleration.

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IMAGE SOURCE: Toyota Web site

Toyota Reinforcement Bar To Be Installed

With a congressional inquiry looming, massive recalls of its automobiles worldwide, production halted at five plants, U.S. sales halted of eight models, and at least 19 deaths blamed on sticky Toyota pedals, the world’s largest car company has announced it will begin the big “fix.”

Toyota will begin addressing the problematic accelerator pedals on 2.3 million vehicles.

Toyota believes wear on the accelerator pedal causes it to stay engaged, so it will install a “precision-cut reinforcement bar” in the gas pedal mechanism to make sure the pedal returns to the idle position, reports USA Today. Toyota says the fix worked in multiple tests. The "fix" parts are currently being shipped.

This is a different problem from the floor mats that Toyota says can engage underneath the gas pedal. Both problems will be fixed at the same time.

Congressional Inquiry

Meanwhile Toyota is feverishly working to resurrect its ruined reputation for honesty. Expect to see newspaper ads explaining the situation and the head of U.S. sales, Jim Lentz, hitting the circuit of television interviewers.

The recalls and sales stoppage is estimated to cost the company about $1 billion. That does not include the cost of litigation or advertising.

February 25, Toyota is scheduled to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee to tell lawmakers what it knew and when it knew it. Chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, (D-CA) says, “Like many consumers, I am concerned by the seriousness and scope of Toyota’s recent recall announcements.”

The Washington Post reports that years ago when Toyota Motor began hearing complaints of runaway cars, the company filed to install a “brake override” system, even as other automakers turn to the technology to fix malfunctions. With a brake override, the driver can stop a car with the brake even if the accelerator is depressed and the car is revving at full throttle.

Volkswagen, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz had that system installed in some of their vehicles, some as far back as a decade ago. The Post reports that General Motors installs brake override in most of its automobiles.

In 2004, federal investigators began looking at the 2002-2003 Toyota Camrys and Solaras and Lexus ES 300s to determine if they were defective after 37 complaints of sudden acceleration, according to the Center for Auto Safety.

Toyota Responds

"Nothing is more important to us than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive," said Jim Lentz, president of Toyota's sales organization in the U.S. "We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers and we are doing everything we can – as fast as we can – to make things right."

Toyota vehicles under recall include:

• Certain 2009-2010 RAV4
• Certain 2009-2010 Corolla
• 2009-2010 Matrix
• 2005-2010 Avalon
• Certain 2007-2010 Camry
• Certain 2010 Highlander
• 2007-2010 Tundra
• 2008-2010 Sequoia

Also not affected are the Lexus Division or Scion vehicles. Also no affected - Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Sienna, Venza, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser, Highlander hybrids and certain Camry models, including Camry hybrids, all of which remain for sale.

Further, Camry, RAV4, Corolla and Highlander vehicles with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) that begin with "J" are not affected by the accelerator pedal recall. #


2 Comments

Anonymous User
Posted by Gilbert Farin
Monday, February 01, 2010 12:55 PM EST

I brought my car into the dealer a month ago when they mailed me a recall notice, thinking it was the carpet, but mine was secure. They said they didn't have a new part nor instructions yet. Am I supposed to recontact them or will they notify me to come in when the dealer receives the part?

Anonymous User
Posted by eaton53
Monday, February 01, 2010 1:03 PM EST

This "fix" is a sham.

There are vehicles out there that exhibit this behavior that are not being recalled (Lexus, Prius)and do not have CTS pedals.

The best known incident (in which the police officer and his family were killed) occurred in a Lexus.

And then there's the incident where the owner of a Toyota Avalon with a wide open throttle managed to reach a dealer by switching back and forth between drive and neutral. A tech examined the car and found it had no floor mats and manipulation of the gas pedal had no effect.

The problem was (and is) electronic and will continue until a brake override system (that sends the throttle to idle whenever the brake is depressed) is installed on these cars.

Comments for this article are closed.

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