NHTSA Receives Complaints About Recall Repairs; Other New Developments in Vehicle Recalls

(LOS ANGELES, March 5, 2010) – The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) his received 60 complaints from Toyota owners about recall-related repairs that don’t appear to be working, according to news reports.
Some of these owners have reported unintended acceleration even though their cars have been repaired with Toyota’s installed shim, trimmed gas pedal and new brake override software, owners say.  
NHTSA has asked Toyota owners who are experiencing these types of situations to contact the agency.  Toyota officials strongly state that they have no evidence that an electronic defect might be causing unintended acceleration.
In related news, the Senate Commerce Committee Chairman, whose panel is conducting a hearing on the Toyota recalls, says that NHTSA has not responded properly to the complaints dating back to 2003 about sudden acceleration in the Japanese automaker’s vehicles.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has countered by stating that the agency is focused on investigating the electronic throttle control system in Toyota vehicles to attempt to get to the source of the problem for drivers.
In an announcement by Toyota Motor North America, the second-largest US automaker said that it had named former U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater to lead an independent North American Quality Advisory Panel to advise the company’s affiliates here on quality and safety issues.   
Secretary Slater will be involved in the selection and approval of members of the panel, Toyota said.  Slater is currently a partner in a public policy research law firm on the East Coast.
At least 56 people have died in traffic crashes nationwide where sudden unintended acceleration of Toyotas has been alleged, the Los Angeles Times found in its analysis of public records, including lawsuits, police reports and NHTSA complaints. NHTSA places the number of fatalities at 52
Toyota has recalled more than 10 million vehicles worldwide since last fall for a variety of problems, including floor mats, sticky gas pedals, steering and components.  Toyota drivers may go online to find information regarding Toyota’s recalls at Toyota.com/Recall, call Toyota at 1-800-331-4331, or the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987.  Toyota information is at http://www.toyota.com and http://www.lexus.com
Consumers may also call the NHTSA vehicle safety hotline 1-888-327-4236 or file an online safety complaint with NHTSA
In related recall news, General Motors has recalled 1.3 million Chevrolet and Pontiac models for power steering failures that are linked to 14 crashes in the U.S., according to GM.  The recall affects the 2005-2010 Chevrolet Cobalt and the 2007-2010 Pontiac G5 models sold here nationwide.  The automaker shared the recall information with NHTSA following a year-long internal investigation.
NHTSA has a separate investigation running on 905,000 Cobalts after it received more than 1,100 complaints about power steering failures, 14 crashes and an injury. 
GM has said that the power steering problem develops over time and appears in vehicles being operated less than 15 miles per hour.  As the power steering fails, drivers hear an audible chime, and a “power steering” message displays.
For more information, Chevy Cobalt owners can call Chevy's customer assistance at (800) 222-1020.   They may also bring their vehicle to a dealership for an inspection, according to the company’s customer service line. 

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