Toyota Recall: Accelerator Pedal Recall May Affect Over Two Million Vehicles

By Joel Arellano | January 21, 2010
We have all become accustomed to various auto manufacturers recalling vehicles that have already been sold for some kind of repair due to some defect. Sometimes the auto makers take the step themselves and sometimes the federal government asks them to do it. But we have never heard of a car company stopping production of new vehicles due to problems that had initiated a recall. Eight models are involved in the decision. They are the: 2009-’10 RAV4 2009-’10 Corolla 2009-’10 Matrix 2005-’10 Avalon Certain 2007-’10 Camry 2010 Highlander 2007-’10 Tundra 2008-’10 Sequoia The recall is due to an acceleration problem. Toyota believes it is due to a faulty gas pedal. But so far, a fix has not been found. The models that are on the list not to be sold account for more than half of Toyota’s U.S. sales. In addition, plants will be closed for about one week to avoid the creation of a major inventory problem. Plants identified for closing include: Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, where the Corolla, Matrix and RAV4 are made Princeton, Indiana, where the Sequoia and Highlander are produced Georgetown, Kentucky, where the Camry and Avalon are made Lafayette, Indiana, where the Camry is constructed San Antonio, Texas, where the Tundra is manufactured Toyota says that it has stopped using the pedal assembly -- or all the parts that make up the gas pedal. Toyota has investigated the problem and determined that the pedals were made with materials that could swell in humidity and get stuck. All of these pedals were manufactured by only one supplier. The plan is to come up with a solution for the cars constructed before the recall and then incorporate them into the production models and into the cars at the dealerships. Our take? Obvious this is a blow to Toyota’s reputation of quality and no doubt is a great embarrassment to the managers of the Japanese company. And it could have devastating long term consequences if the company is not able to make the fix. * * * TORRANCE, Calif., January 21, 2010 -- 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. Press release via Toyota