(LOS ANGELES, Jan. 29, 2010) – Toyota Motor Corp. said today that it is working out how to repair the problems associated with sudden acceleration and safety on certain models that led to massive recalls of nearly 8 million vehicles in the U.S.
Toyota also said today it has mailed vehicle owners details as to how it plans to fix gas pedals that may stick to the floor, are slow to return after being depressed or unsmooth during operation causing cars to rapidly accelerate in an unsafe manner. News reports also describe the pedal problem as being caused by condensation around an arm attached to the pedal and springs that send the pedal back to idle.
Related to the sudden-acceleration issue, two U.S. House committees announced they plan to hold hearings into the matter. One hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 4, by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to ask if the public is at risk. This session is in addition to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Feb. 25, hearing to delve into consumer complaints related to Toyota vehicles.
The Energy Committee has requested that Toyota, the second-largest U.S. carmaker, provide a timeline of when they learned of the acceleration problem, as well as documents and actions taken to fix the problems.
Officials from Toyota also met late this week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to talk about the repair to gas pedals in some models.
Toyota has told NHTSA that it plans to reconfigure the accelerator pedal, and in some cases, the shape and floor surface under the pedal, according to a NHTSA announcement. Toyota also told NHTSA that it is developing replacement pedals, which will become available for some models in April.
In addition, vehicles with Toyota or Lexus accessory all-weather floor mats will be provided with newly-designed replacement driver- and front-passenger side all-weather mats.
Meanwhile, the supplier that manufactures the accelerator pedals, CTS Corp., located in Elkhart, Ind., said that it has begun sending new redesigned pedals to Toyota plants. Also, Toyota has said that they will work with their part supplier to test the effectiveness of pedal modifications for existing vehicles on the road that will be available to car owners as quickly as possible.
“Consumers should realize that in a recall of this magnitude, it will take Toyota and its part supplier time to test, validate and produce the repair or replacement of the faulty part,” said the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center Manager Steve Mazor. “It also needs regulatory approval before implementing the solution.”
Consumers may contact Toyota at 1-800-331-4331 or the NHTSA hotline 1-888-327-4236 for more information.
The Auto Club reminds motorists that no Scion vehicles are affected by Toyota’s recall actions. Also not affected by the recalls are: Sienna, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including Camry hybrids, which remain for sale.