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Toyota Announces Action to Fix Gas Pedals

(LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1, 2010) – Toyota Motor Corp. announced today actions to repair accelerator pedals on certain models that led to massive recalls of nearly 8 million vehicles in the U.S.  The manufacturer also announced that it’s already shipping new parts, steel reinforcement bars, to its more than 1,400 dealerships around the country this week.
Toyota also said that its dealerships would be open 24 hours a day/seven days a week to repair the millions of vehicles that fall under Toyota’s second recall since autumn and that dealership mechanics were being trained on procedures to make repairs.
Toyota’s USA news web site described the repair as follows:  “A precision-cut steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the assembly that will reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface.  With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick is eliminated.  The company has confirmed the effectiveness of the newly reinforced pedals through rigorous testing on pedal assemblies that had previously shown a tendency to stick. 
“Separately from the recall for sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota is in the process of recalling vehicles to address rare instances in which floor mats have trapped the accelerator pedal in certain Toyota and Lexus models (announced Nov. 25, 2009), and is already notifying customers about how it will fix this issue.  In the case of vehicles covered by both recalls, it is Toyota’s intention to remedy both at the same time.”
News reports last week described the pedal problem as being caused by condensation around an arm attached to the pedal and springs that send the pedal back to idle.
Representatives from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are said to be satisfied with the repair design.  
Meanwhile, the supplier that manufactures the accelerator pedals, CTS Corp., located in Elkhart, Ind., maintains that it has been cooperating with Toyota and that the repair design was the Japanese automakers.  In news reports, the supplier also stated that its parts were not the cause of Toyota vehicles acceleration issues since the problem dates back to before Toyota used the Midwestern manufacturer’s equipment.
According to NHTSA, the Toyota, Lexus, and Pontiacs affected by the pedal entrapment recall are:
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2007-2010 ES 350 (Lexus)
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350 (Lexus)
  • 2008-2010 Highlander
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2004-2009 Prius
  • 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe (Toyota makes for General Motors Co.)
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2009-2010 Venza
According to NHTSA, the Toyota, Lexus and Pontiacs affected by the sticky pedal recall are:
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe (Toyota makes for General Motors Co.)
  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia
  • 2007-2008 Tundra
In addition to the recall, Toyota stopped production of the eight models involved and major U.S. rental companies have removed Toyota vehicles from their fleets.
Toyota has also told NHTSA that it plans to reconfigure the accelerator pedal, and in some cases, the shape and floor surface under the pedal, according to NHTSA.  Toyota also told NHTSA that it is developing replacement pedals for these vehicles, 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.
For driver safety, two U.S. House committees plan to hold hearings into the matter.  One hearing has been tentatively scheduled for Thursday 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. 
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 were affected by Toyota’s recall actions.  Also not affected by the recalls were, Sienna, Solara, Yaris, 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Land Cruiser and select Camry models, including Camry hybrids, which remain for sale. 
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