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Continuing Coverage: Toyota Recall and Sales Freeze

By KBB.com Editors on March 1, 2010 4:58 PM
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UPDATE: 3/01/2010
Toyota Will Provide Extra Services to Owners of Recalled Vehicles

Toyota has announced that it will offer a selection of free extra convenience services to owners of all Toyota and Lexus vehicles that have been impacted by the recent recalls involving sticking accelerator pedals, floor mat pedal entrapment, anti-lock brake system software updates, and, in the case of the Tacoma pickup, front drive-shaft inspection. These services include expedited scheduling of corrective services, pickup and return of vehicles by a dealership representative, driving customers from the dealership and back when repairs are completed and, when necessary, providing other alternate transportation, including a rental/loner car, or taxi reimbursement for the reasonable period that the customer is unable or unwilling to use their own vehicle.

UPDATE: 2/23/2010
Toyota Will Expand Fitment of Brake Override Feature

In a move intended to provide its customers with an added measure of confidence, Toyota announced that it has expanded the list of vehicles to be fitted with a brake override feature. This brake-system enhancement automatically reduces engine power when the brake and accelerator pedal are applied simultaneously under certain driving conditions.

Initially, Toyota had said it would install this supplemental safeguard on 2007-2010 Camry and 2005-2010 Avalon models as well as the 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350 and 2006-2010 IS 250/IS 350 lineups. That original list has now been expanded to include three more Toyota models: the 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2009-2010 Venza and 2008-2010 Sequoia.

In addition to these existing vehicles, Toyota also announced that it will incorporate this brake-override circuitry on most other vehicles it sells in the U.S. by the end of 2010. Detailed information and answers to questions on this or any other recall-related issues are available at www.toyota.com/recall or by calling the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

UPDATE: 2/5/2010
Toyota Begins Selective Lift of Stop-Sell Order
With an overabundance of repair parts now arriving at its outlets across the country, Toyota is allowing dealers to begin selling the eight vehicles that had been recalled last month to repair sticky throttle mechanisms. However, Toyota Division Group Vice President Bob Carter stressed that this authorization comes on a case-by-case basis, and that the overriding rule remains all existing customer vehicles continue to have absolute priority for all recall repairs. Beyond that, any dealer with more of the metal fix-it shims on hand than customers with cars needing repairs is free to use the extras to repair unsold "recall" vehicles in their existing inventories and return them to salable status.

UPDATE: 2/1/2010
Toyota's Solution for the Sticking Throttle Problem
Toyota's plan to eliminate the potential for throttle sticking to occur involves adding a special steel reinforcement bar to the part of this electronically-actuated accelerator assembly that creates pedal "feel" similar to the feedback a driver would normally experience with a traditional cable-actuated throttle. Toyota says the problem results from a combination of wear and environmental conditions that can cause this built-in tactile element to suffer excessive friction. In rare cases, it can make the accelerator pedal stick and release instead of allowing it to operate smoothly and close completely. Once installed, this new shim will reportedly prevent that kind of situation from ever taking place.

UPDATE: 2/1/2010
Toyota Begins Implementing Sticking Throttle Fix

Toyota Motor Sales has announced that parts necessary to correct the sticking throttle problem in the eight vehicles affected by its recent stop-sell/recall action have been distributed to dealers across the country and that repairs have now begun. Owners of all vehicles involved will begin receiving notification letters from Toyota advising them to contact their local dealers and schedule a service appointment to have the work completed. The procedure, which involves fitting a small metal shim into the accelerator pedal assembly, normally takes about 30 minutes. As previously stated, Toyota dealers are expanding their service-department hours will to help expedite the process, with some planning to be open on a 24/7 basis.

UPDATE: 2/1/2010
Toyota Broadens Brake Probe to Include Lexus HS 250h Hybrid

Toyota has expanded its investigation into problems with the braking system of the 2010 Prius Hybrid by adding in a related vehicle: the Lexus HS 250h. The automaker says this voluntary decision was made because the two share the same basic anti-lock brake (ABS) modules and not because of any owner-related complaints. Our source at Toyota indicated that while the hardware is common the ABS control software is specific to each car.

UPDATE: 2/1/2010
Pedal Fix Approved, Will Start Later This Week
Toyota has confirmed that a solution to resolve the sticking throttle problem has been found and approved. This fix involves fitting a component that will effectively eliminate the potential for friction in the assembly and ensure that the accelerator pedal can return to its fully closed position. For more information, read the whole story here.

UPDATE: 1/29/2010
Toyota Preparing Pedal Fix
Toyota reportedly has come up with a solution to the throttle-sticking problem that involves fitting a "selective spacer" into the assembly that would prevent internal friction and ensure that the accelerator pedal can fully return to its closed position. If approved by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), these corrective components could start making their way to Toyota dealers across the country within the next week or two.

UPDATE: 1/29/2010
Pontiac Vibe Joins No-Sell List
General Motors has placed its own stop-sale order on all 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe models currently in inventory in the U.S. and Canada. An orphan from the now-shuttered Pontiac division, the Vibe is a mechanical clone of another vehicle on the list, the 2009-2010 Toyota Matrix. Like the Matrix, it also was included in the previous Toyota recall that began last fall and involved potential throttle-pedal obstruction due to improper driver's-side floormats. GM says there are 99,293 Vibes included in this latest no-sale/recall action, including about 1,600 new unsold units.

UPDATE: 1/29/2010
Toyota Recall Spreads to Europe
Toyota Motor Europe has announced that eight vehicles sold there are being recalled as the result of possible throttle-sticking problems. This latest action will impact another 1.8 million Toyota vehicles.

ORIGINAL STORY: 1/27/2010
Recall Alert: Toyota Stops Sales of Eight Vehicles
Less than a week after announcing a voluntary recall of 2.3 million vehicles in its product lines that could experience problems with sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota has officially advised its dealers to temporarily suspend sales of eight potentially impacted models. The action came following consultation with -- and advisement from -- the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). This no-sell list currently includes the 2005-2010 Avalon, 2009-2010 Corolla and Matrix, 2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 RAV4, 2008-2010 Sequoia, 2007-2010 Tundra and select 2007-2010 Camry models, excluding the Camry Hybrid. Save for a minor change involving specific Camry variants, all of these vehicles also were included in last-week's recall. Collectively, they account for nearly 60 percent of the automaker's total U.S. sales volume.

>Recall and Stop-sale Q&A

>Feds Schedule Hearings on Toyota Recall and NHTSA Involvement

"Helping ensure the safety of our customers and restoring confidence in Toyota are very important to our company," said Group Vice President and Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter. "This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized. We're making every effort to address this situation for our customers as quickly as possible." Production of the vehicles in question also will be halted until an appropriate fix can be enacted.

Toyota's official statement pointed out that the latest group of vehicles in question are not the same as those covered in its original -- and still ongoing -- 4.2-million-vehicle recall that began last September and specifically focused on vehicles with accelerator pedals that could become entangled with an improper or improperly anchored driver's-side floormat. However, there is a substantial amount of overlap between the two. Although no Scion models appear on either roster, and neither the Prius nor any Lexus vehicles turned up on the January 21st list, the 2005-2010 Prius, 2007-2010 ES 350, and 2006-2010 IS 250/350 were among those singled out last fall. At that time, Toyota outlined a series of corrective actions, including reconfiguring the accelerator pedal, replacing the floor mats and installing a brake override system that cuts engine power in case of simultaneous application of both the accelerator and brake pedals.

In addressing this latest incident, Toyota Motor Sales Group Vice President Irv Miller noted that: "In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats. 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 is continuing to investigate all incidents of unwanted acceleration. It advises owners that any vehicle involved in the January 21st recall that does experience throttle sticking can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes. It should then be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance. Toyota owners with any questions or concerns about their vehicles should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.

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