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Toyota to stop selling, building eight models due to recall

January 26, 2010 http://detnews.com/article/20100126/AUTO01/1260434

Toyota to stop selling, building eight models due to recall

DAVID SHEPARDSON
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Washington — Toyota Motor Corp. said today that it has told its dealers to temporarily stop selling eight models that were recalled last week over the danger of sticking accelerator pedals.

Toyota is also halting production of those vehicles as it tries to contain the fallout after two damaging recalls raised questions about its safety record and further threaten its reputation.

The popular vehicles account for a majority of Toyota’s sales and could significantly harm the company’s dealers if the fix takes a significant period. Officials in Washington have suggested that Toyota will need to replace the accelerator pedal in the new recall — and Japanese media reports have also suggested the same.

After recalling 4.26 million vehicles in September over concerns that accelerator pedals could get stuck in floor mats and cause unintended acceleration, the company this month recalled another 2.3 million vehicles over concerns that the accelerator pedals could stick. A total of 1.7 million vehicles were in both recalls.

The most recent recall came on the eve of a report that ABC News was about to broadcast on two recent incidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was investigating the new accelerator pedal and considering opening a formal investigation when Toyota announced the recall.

The U.S. Transportation Department declined to comment late Tuesday on Toyota’s announcement.

But with no fix ready, some customers expressed worry about buying recalled vehicles.

"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 Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats," the company said.

The automaker says 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.

The vehicles that dealers were ordered to stop selling are: 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, Certain 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2008-2010 Sequoia.

Due to the suspension of sales, Toyota is expected to stop producing vehicles on the following production lines next week to assess the situation and its response:

 

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada (Corolla, Matrix, and RAV4)

     

     

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Sequoia and Highlander)

     

     

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky — Line 1 (Camry and Avalon)

     

     

  • Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (Camry)

     

     

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (Tundra)

     

    Congressional aides said late Tuesday that several committees are considering holding hearings on Toyota’s massive recalls and its decisions to tell dealers to stop selling eight models.

    NHTSA has not been happy with how Toyota has handled the recalls. In November, the department criticized the automaker for its "inaccurate and misleading" suggestion that sudden acceleration in some vehicles bound for recall may be due only to improperly fitting floor mats.

    NHTSA said Toyota inaccurately suggested in a press release that the agency had concluded "that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured," the agency said in a statement.

    Toyota last week said the Pontiac Vibe, jointly engineered between GM and Toyota, was part of the recall. But it was not part of Tuesday’s announcement.

    GM spokesman Alan Adler said the company had just learned of Toyota’s announcement.

    "We just learned about the stop sale, so we really cannot react," Adler said.

    GM has nearly completed the wind-down of its Pontiac brand and has few left for sale. GM has had no complaints on the Vibe related to the Toyota recall, Adler said.

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