LOS ANGELES — Toyota may be faced with another recall a week after its largest U.S. recall in company history.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration today said it would investigate frame corrosion on 2000 and 2001 model year Tundra pickups. An estimated 218,000 units are involved.
NHTSA said it has received 20 complaints — 15 of them alleging that the underbody-mounted spare tire separated from the rear cross member. The other five complaints allege damaged brake lines due to corrosion on the driver’s side rear cross member.
Brian Lyons, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., said he is not surprised at NHTSA’s investigation.
“We’ve been investigating this for a little bit of time,” he said. “We know there are some complaints out there. We have repurchased some vehicles to aid in our investigation.”
The disclosure comes a week after Toyota announced it will recall 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to replace a floor mat that could cause the accelerator to stick. The recall prompted a public apology from Toyota Motor Corp. President Akio Toyoda.
Toyota faced a similar frame-rust problem last year involving about 750,000 Tacoma pickups.
In March 2008, the company agreed to buy back 1995 to 2000 model year Tacomas at 150 percent of the high Kelly Blue Book value.
Then in November 2008, the company issued a recall on 2001 to 2004 model year Tacomas. If there was no rust, Toyota automatically extended the warranty to 15 years with unlimited mileage. If there was rust, the frames were replaced at no cost to the consumer.
Lyons did not say why the company did not issue a recall for the Tundra at the same time as the Tacoma.
“The two trucks did not share the same frame, but there were similarities,” he said. Lyons said both trucks had the same supplier.
“But it’s our responsibility, not the supplier’s responsibility,” Lyons said.
Lyons did not name the supplier.
The 2000 model year was the first for the Tundra, which replaced the T-100. It was made in Indiana at the time. The Tacoma is produced at NUMMI in California.