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Toyota recalled a number of trucks in Japan for a defective steering column but chose to wait nearly a year before recalling them in North America, despite a series of complains in the United States regarding the issue. The revelation comes on the heels of a $16.4 million fine imposed by the U.S. government as punishment for Toyota delaying the recalls of millions of vehicles over accelerator pedals that stick open unintentionally.
The latest recall involves a defective steering column, and failure could lead to the driver being unable to steer the vehicle and turn its wheels. Toyota initially claimed that the recall was issued in Japan because driving conditions put more strain on the affected parts and denied that there was an issue in North America. However the Associated Press investigated the matter and found numerous complains to Toyota’s customer service, legal and warranty department. The National Highway Traffics Safety Association has linked the defect to 16 crashes, three deaths and seven injuries.
[Source: Automotive News]
Toyota‘s recall issues just keep coming, with news from the Japanese automaker that it will recall 50,000 Sequoia SUVs from 2003. The problem with the trucks stems from the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system, but it is quite unlike the VSC problem recently identified in the Lexus GX460 – which was recalled for a stability control system that did not engage enough.
According to Toyota, the Sequoia’s VSC system could activate at low speeds (roughly 9 mph) causing a loss of acceleration for a few seconds. As a result the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects. Toyota says it changed the VSC system part-way though the 2003 year production, published a Technical Service Bulletin on the issue and that roughly half of the affected vehicles have already been fixed under standard warranty claims.
Toyota says no injuries or accidents have been reported due to this issue.
All 2003 model year Sequoia owners (including those who already had the vehicle serviced) will receive a letter from Toyota starting in late May to schedule a recall fix appointment. Those who already had the issue fixed at their own expense will be reimbursed by Toyota.
Toyota Sequoia owners seeking more information are asked to visit www.toyota.com/recall or call the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Official release after the jump:
As reported earlier today, Toyota has now officially announced it will comply with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s civil fine of $16.4 million for not issuing a recall within an acceptable timeframe. The recall in question focused on 2.3 million vehicles for sticking accelerator pedals.
In a statement the Japanese automaker accepted the fine, but not the terms behind it, stating that it does not believe it violated the Safety Act. “We believe we made a good faith effort to investigate this condition and develop an appropriate counter-measure. We have acknowledged that we could have done a better job of sharing relevant information within our global operations and outside the company, but we did not try to hide a defect to avoid dealing with a safety problem.”
Toyota says it agreed to the fine to avoid further litigation but also to move beyond the issue and focus on improving quality. “This will allow us to focus on delivering safe, reliable, high quality vehicles for our customers and responding to consumer feedback with honesty and integrity. These have been core Toyota values for 70 years, and we pledge to make an even greater effort to adhere to this philosophy now and in the future. We also welcome a new, more transparent chapter in our relationship with NHTSA, consistent with our commitments to Congress and the American people.”
While the $16.4 million fine isn’t much for an automaker, the negative public perception generated by it can be much more significant. Toyota now seems to be quick to issue recalls and vehicles needing to be recalled don’t appear to be lacking with an announcement late last week of a recall for the Sienna minivan and just today for the Lexus GX460.
Official release after the jump:
It’s the fifth major recall for Toyota in the past few months and Toyota’s stellar reputation for quality is taking a beating. Toyota Motor Corp has just announced a recall of 600,000 Toyota Sienna minivans dating from 1998-2010. The issue with the vans is with the spare tire cable which may rust so severely that the spare tire, located at the rear of the van on the underside, could come loose. Toyota says this is a, “road hazard for following vehicles that increases the likelihood of a crash.”
The recall is for Sienna vans in Northern States or states which use salt on the roads in winter months – which causes increased corrosion. The states listed by Toyota include: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Owners of Sienna minivans in other states are welcome to bring their vehicle in for an inspection of the spare tire cable, Toyota says.
Toyota says it is working on a “fix” for the problem and will notify customers as soon as a remedy is available. Toyota will also send out notices to all Sienna owners to in the mean time to book an appointment to have the spare tire cable inspected.
Official release after the jump:
Toyota is expected to announce today that it will comply with a $16.4 million U.S. Transportation Department fine, imposed for a four month delay in notifying the government of faulty gas pedals on some of its vehicles. The fine is the largest civic penalty ever imposed on an automaker by the U.S. government.
According to AP’s sources Toyota does not want to accept liability for the delay but that by paying the fine it will essentially accept full responsibility. If Toyota were to dispute the fine it could result in a court case with the Federal Government – which is only likely to reflect even worse on Toyota.
According to reports earlier this month, the Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood claimed to have documents showing that Toyota knew of the sticking accelerator pedal problem in September but did not issue the recall until January.
The recall at issue is for 2.3 million vehicles, including models like the Corolla and Camry.
Until now the largest civil fine paid by an automaker to the U.S. government was $1 million, paid in 2004 by General Motors for taking too long to issue a recall for faulty windshield wipers.
[Source: The Associated Press]
Last week the Department of Transportation announced a $16.4 million fine for Toyota after it declared the automaker acted too slowly in informing the government about a problem with sticking accelerator pedals which later led to a recall. That might not be the end of it, however, as according to a report by Automotive News the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) could levy yet another similar fine.
Of note is the fact that current legislation has saved Toyota from a far more costly payout. The DOT could have fined Toyota for each infraction on the 2.3 million cars, but the current law limits the amount to just one. Were it not for the current legislation, the total could have been as high as $13.8 billion.
The DOT is continuing to investigate Toyota and as it combs though mounts of subpoenaed documents new items of note continue to surface, allowing the DOT to put together a timeline of events. Most recently, investigators uncovered a document that Toyota has asked for accelerator pedal changes to be made in Europe last October, but not in the U.S. In addition, an email uncovered recently by former Toyota VP of environmental and public affairs Irv Miller, urged company execs to “come clean” on the accelerator pedal issue, stating that, “the time to hid on this one is over.”
No official word of the fine has been made by the NHTSA and Toyota has yet to announce if it will appeal the initial fine.
[Source: Automotive News va Autoblog]
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood seems to have found a “smoking gun,” in the Toyota recall controversy, alleging his department now has proof the automaker shirked its legal responsibilities. “We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations,” he said yesterday. “Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families.”
As a result, the Transportation department is looking to fine Toyota $16.38 million – the highest penalty possible and the largest ever handed out.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has the right to fine automakers that don’t inform the government body of a problem within five business days. According to the NHTSA, Toyota took four months to confirm the sticky accelerator pedal issue, long after it acknowledged such a problem existed by sending repair instructions to distributors in Europe and Canada. (Toyota Canada has since refuted this claim, saying no such repair info was sent to distributors in that country).
Toyota has two weeks to challenge any such fine by the NHTSA and has not yet said if it will, instead releasing a statement referring to its efforts to improve safety and communication at the company. Meanwhile the transportation department has said it is continuing to review internal Toyota documents and that more fines could be levied if additional violations are discovered.
After Toyota recently debunked an ABC News report about sudden acceleration in its vehicles, the Japanese automaker has now decided to take on CNN, after the news outlet reported that Toyota knew about sudden acceleration issues as far back as 2002.
The story by CNN‘s special investigations unit reports that in a secret document Toyota admitted to electronic issues related to the throttle, even saying that in 2002, “Toyota had a sudden acceleration problem and that according to Toyota’s own technical service bulletin, the problem was electronic.”
Toyota has responded, essentially debunking the document and exposing CNN‘s faulty reporting; the “secret document” being a 2002 Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) published by Toyota and sent to all of its dealers as well as being publicly available online through several government and independent websites as well as through Toyota’s own site: https://techinfo.toyota.com. In fact, the 2002 TSB was discussed by Toyota Motor Sales USA President Jim Lentz during his appearance before the Congressional testimony looking into Toyota’s recall woes.
As for the content of the TSB, Toyota says that the issue was never sudden acceleration but rather, “a drivability issue at speeds of between 38 and 42 miles per hour at light throttle.” the TSB continues, “This condition was strictly related to a function internal to the transmission torque converter under certain throttle conditions. It manifested as a slight rocking motion, or surge, while holding steady throttle at the specific speed window. This issue was in no way related to any kind of sustained acceleration.”
Toyota contests the misinterpretation of the word “surge” in the document, which is says has been taken out of context. Toyota’s statement says that, “The term surge has been used across the industry for many years to describe a condition where there is a very slight slow-down and speed-up perception (typically two miles per hour or less) while holding steady throttle at low to moderate speeds.” Toyota also says almost every other automaker has issued a similar TSB, with 80 such TSBs being published in the last 10 years.
It would appear as though CNN has now followed after ABC News, with horribly poor investigative journalism that puts ratings ahead of integrity, research and fact checking.
See the official Toyota release and CNNs original story after the jump:
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With all the news surrounding Toyota‘s recent recalls and the widely reported story of a runaway Prius in California (now believed to be a hoax), Toyota has decided to issue an instructional video of what to do in case of an, “unintended acceleration.”
Toyota continues to insist that the problem is rare and the 2008 Prius model that starred in the high-speed adventure in California was only a part of a recall for floor mats.
Still, this is must-watch for Toyota Hybrid drivers.
Se more Toyota Recall News at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
Brakes on Prius not sufficiently worn, calling into question driver's story
Last week James Sikes made headlines when his 2008 Toyota Prius raced out of control of a California highway, with speeds approaching 100 mph. Sikes claimed this was a case of unintended acceleration, with repeated attempts to stop the car not working. A believable story considering Toyota’s long list of recent recalls, it now appears to be a hoax with Runaway Prius Guy quickly becoming the next Balloon Boy.
A story that was riddled with misinformation (several outlets erroneously reporting that a California Highway Patrol officer had to use his cruiser to slow the Prius), Jalopnik uncovered that Sikes is in debt to the tune of $700,000 – motivation to fake the incident in order to get a settlement or to take Toyota to court. Sikes has repeated that he has no interest in suing Toyota, but now his story has been completely called into question.
A federal investigation of the Prius, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, has shown that the condition of the car’s brakes does not support Sikes’ story, in particular his insistence that repeated and forceful use of the brake pedal did not slow the car. According to the Journal, the investigation, “didn’t find signs the brake had been applied at full force at high speeds over a sustained period of time.”
It’s not yet clear if the damage from this story can be repaired, but Toyota is on the march to repair its name, recently debunking the ABC News story and the work of professor David Gilbert of Southern Illinois University.
Lawsuit aims to halt sale of Toyota products
The Orange County, California, District Attorney has announced plans to file a civil lawsuit against Toyota. The suit is over safety concerns with Toyota vehicles, and comes as Toyota has recalled over eight million vehicles worldwide due to several different safety issues. The suit aims to stop Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. from “continuing to endanger the public through the sale of defective vehicles and deceptive business practices.”
Toyota has issued a statement saying that it, “has not received the complaint and is not in a position to comment on pending litigation.”
Orange county District Attorney Tony Rackauckas will hold a press conference later today to announce the lawsuit.
A Prius driver claims his 2008 model Toyota accelerated uncontrollably at speeds of up to 90 mph on a San Diego freeway before California High Patrol officers helped him stop his runaway car. The driver, 61-year-old James Sikes, said the acceleration happened when he overtook another car on Interstate 8, after which the car accelerated uncontrollably for the next 20 minutes as he traveled over 30 miles.
“I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny,” Sikes said at a press conference. “It jumped and it just stuck there. As it was going, I was trying the brakes … It wasn’t stopping.”
Sikes called 911 and a CHP officer caught up to the speeding Prius, instructing Sikes to use the brakes, put the car in neutral and then turn off the car once they had reached a lower speed. No one was injured in the incident.
The 2008 mode year Prius is currently part of Toyota’s Floormat Pedal Entrapment recall, which affects all 2004-09 Prius models. Sikes said he had received a recall notice, but when he contacted his local Toyota dealership, he was told the car was not on the recall list.
Toyota has dispatched a technical specialists to investigate the vehicle.
For more Toyota recall news visit the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub here
Toyota today confirmed that it will extend the pick-up and drop-off of vehicles involved in the recent recalls to all its customers in the United States. Earlier in week, Toyota announced the program of extraordinary service for its customers in the New York region.
Services provided by Toyota include a pick up and return of the vehicle by a dealership employee, driving the customer to the dealership or his or her place of work, or (when necessary), providing alternative transportation including a loaner vehicle, rental car or even taxi reimbursement.
Toyota says the service will be covered entirely by the company, and will not have to be covered by dealers. It applies to all customers with a recalled vehicle in one of four recalls: sticking accelerator pedals, floor mat pedal entrapment, anti-lock brake system software updates, and Tacoma front drive shaft inspection.
Toyota advises that anyone with additional questions should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or the Lexus Customer Assistance Center at 1-800-255-3987, or visit www.toyota.com/recall.
Official release after the jump:
During questioning at the House Committee’s investigation into Toyota’s ongoing recall crisis, safety advocate group Safety Research & Strategies founder Sean Kane admitted that his group is hardly an unbiased participant. In fact, Kane admitted that a recent report outlining Toyota’s faults was funded by five different law firms, all of which are currently engaged in litigation with Toyota.
The report clearly states that Toyota has not completely identified the cause of unintended acceleration, had limited its investigation into the matter and then issued the floor mat recall as a least expensive action. It also claims that the issue of unintended acceleration cannot be solved by either replacing the floor mats or by replacing or fixing the mechanical pedal mechanism.
The credibility of the report may now be called into question, considering the source of the funding behind it.
In a prepared statement Toyota President Jim Lentz reiterated Toyota’s continued stand that the issue with its many recalled Toyota models is mechanical and not electronic. Lentz commented that Toyota hired Exponent, a top engineering and scientific consulting firm, to examine its electronic throttle system to see if there were any issues. Toyota gave Exponent an unlimited budget and no electronic problem was found.
Get more Toyota Recall News at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
After ABC News aired a segment yesterday where an expert was able to recreate a case of unintended acceleration, Toyota has taken to the offensive and challenged the news outlet and its source. In a video segment (see below), David Gilbert, an automotive technology professor at Southern Illinois University, recreates the problem in a Toyota Avalon, by introducing a short circuit to the controls to show that in such a circumstance the ECU does not record a fault and does not go into a “limp-mode.” The “short circuit” that Mr. Gilbert has introduced is intended to replicate a similar situation caused by moisture or wear.
Toyota has said that it has already been in touch with Mr. Gilbert using a similar setup in a Toyota Tundra and that in that circumstance the introduction of a transistor to create the short circuit creates, “an abnormal connection between two otherwise independent signals coming from the accelerator pedal sensors.” In other words, Toyota is asserting some pretty basic science, that the introduction of a new variable pretty much negates the process.
In an effort to set the record straight, Toyota has said it would like to investigate Mr. Gilbert’s new method and the Avalon in question, inviting ABC News to come along.
Get more Toyota Recall News at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
See the ABC news video and Toyota’s response after the jump:
This additional safety measure to also be included in most new Toyota models
As hearings into Toyota’s recall woes begin today in Washington, the automaker has announced that it will install a new brake override feature on an expanded range of vehicles. The feature, initially announced for the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, and the 2007-2010 Lexus ES 350, 2006-2010 IS 350 and 2006-2010 IS 250 models, will also be installed on all 2005-10 Tacoma models, 2009-10 Venza models and 2008-10 Sequoia models.
The brake override feature will automatically reduce engine power when both the brake and accelerator pedal are pressed. While this is not a part of the recall, it will be performed when recall work is done. Toyota says that it is “an extra measure of confidence for Toyota owners.”
Toyota has also said this brake override feature will also be standard equipment on most new Toyota models in the future.
Additional info can be found at www.toyota.com/recall or by calling the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Find additional recall information at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub here.
Official release after the jump:
According to a spokeswoman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Toyota may face yet another investigation, this time over steering-related issues with the 2009 and 2010 Corolla model. The NHTSA has recorded 83 power steering related complaints on the 2009-10 models, which use an electric power steering system. Toyota switched to electric power steering in the Corolla for the ’09 model year, with ’09 model year Corollas first going on sale in February of 2008.
Complainants say the vehicle can veer to the left or right at over 40 mph. Over the 83 filed complaints, six accidents are associated with the alleged steering issue with 10 injuries reported.
Yesterday Toyota announced a worldwide recall of the 437,000 hybrid models, including the 2010 Prius hybrid after the NHTSA opened an investigation into electric braking problems with the car and the Lexus HS250h.
Toyota also has two other recalls out for over 8 million vehicles, one for “floor mat entrapment” and another for faulty brake pedals. Both of these recalls also include the 2009-10 Corolla.
The NHTSA is considering an investigation into the complains which could result in further analysis of the car by Toyota and (if deemed necessary) a recall. Currently the NHTSA is investigating 40 possible defects, three of which are for Toyotas.
See more Toyota recall news here: AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
[Source: Automotive News]
Prius recall still not announced
Late last night Toyota held a press conference in Japan where company CEO and Akio Toyoda, grandson of the automaker’s founder, apologized for the recent recalls and safety concerns over Toyota products.
“The recalls are affecting several models in several regions and have caused anxiety among customers who are wondering if their cars are OK,” said Toyoda. “For that we are very sorry.”
Previous to this Toyota has been criticized for its lack of openness and minimal communication, as rumors and news reports swirled and owners of Toyota vehicles became increasingly confused. Toyoda did give a public apology once already but it was during a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and wasn’t covered widely.
Toyoda reassured consumers that Toyota cars are safe and announced a new taskforce that would look into consumer complaints and work to make Toyota products safe. Akio Toyoda said he would personally oversee the new taskforce, which has six main goals: first, to improve the quality inspection process; second, to enhance customer research over safety issues; third, to establish an “Automotive Center of Excellence”; fourth, to work with outside experts on quality control; fifth, to increase communications and sixth, to improve regional autonomy of its divisions and product.
What Toyoda did not do during the press conference is announce a recall for the popular new 2010 Prius model, which Japan’s Nikkei News has reported is coming.
For complete Toyota recall information visit the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub
Toyota has now expanded its internal investigation over braking issues to cover all hybrid models says a report by the Wall Street Journal. Toyota has already admitted that there was a braking problem with its 2010 Prius model, and according to Japan’s Nikkei News, Toyota is preparing to issue a recall for 270,000 Prius models from the 2010 model year.
Toyota has admitted it knew of a problem that caused a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking to its traditional friction braking. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as Japanese authorities have registered over 100 complaints about the car’s brake system, where owners say they experienced a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads. Toyota has said the issue has been solved on all models produced since late January but no recall has been ordered for models built before that time.
The 2010 Prius model was not covered under the previous recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticking accelerators or “unintended acceleration.” Those recalled vehicles use a brake assembly by Indiana-based CTS Corp, while the 2010 Prius and other hybrid Toyota products use a brake system developed by Denso.
Additional Toyota hybrid models that will now come under investigation include the Highlander hybrid and Camry hybrid. It is not year clear if the investigation will also cover Lexus hybrid models.
With the Prius recall reportedly coming, can recalls for all Toyota hybrids be far behind?
See more Toyota recall news here: Toyota Recall News Hub
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Recall likely to affect 270,000 third-generation (2010) Prius models
According to Japan’s Nikkei News, Toyota will recall 270,000 of its 2010 Prius models due to an issue with the car’s braking system. Unrelated to past Toyota recalls, the Prius uses a unique combination of traditional mechanical braking and sophisticated regenerative braking, which is used to recharge the car’s hybrid battery.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as well as Japanese authorities have registered over 100 complaints about the car’s brake system, where owners say they experienced a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads. Toyota has admitted it knew of a problem that caused a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking to its traditional friction braking. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second.
Toyota has said the issue has been solved on all models produced since late January but no recall has been ordered for models built before that time.
Toyota spokesman Tom Hanson has said he has no information regarding the recall of the Prius model. Earlier today the Japanese automaker released a statement saying that it, “is aware that NHTSA has opened a Preliminary Evaluation centered on owner complaints of a braking issue with the 2010 model year Prius. Toyota will cooperate fully with NHTSA’s investigation.”
Only yesterday the AutoGuide team was discussing the fact that with all the recent Toyota recalls, the next thing to be recalled might be the automaker’s Prius iPhone App. Well, truth may be stranger than fiction as the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has now said it will look into whether electronic interference from cell phones could be the cause of unintended acceleration issues with several Toyota models.
Electromagnetic interference, or EMI, has become a concern as electronic gadgets have become a part of every day life. At the same time, cars have become increasingly reliant on electrical, rather than mechanical, components. It has been suggested that the issue over Toyota’s “unintended acceleration” problem could be due to electronic interference and not a mechanical fault as many modern vehicles use electronic throttle sensors, rather than a mechanical system where a pushing the gas pedal actuates a wire than opens the engine’s throttlebody.
Fear over electrical interference is what has prompted airlines to ask passengers to turn off electrical equipment.
Toyota currently has a recall out for 2.3 million vehicles due to what it calls a potentially faulty mechanical brake pedal. The recall includes the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2007-2010 Camry, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra and 2008-2010 Sequoia.
See more Toyota recall news at the AutoGuide Toyota Recall News Hub.
[Source: Wall Street Journal]
Toyota‘s popular Prius model is now officially under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for potentially faulty brakes. In a statement released by the NHTSA, it said it will launch a formal investigation into whether the popular hybrid has a brief loss of braking capability when traveling over bumpy or icy roads.
This announcement may, however, be a moot point as Toyota has already admitted to knowing there was a problem with the brakes on the 2010 Prius (a model previously unaffected by any of Toyota’s other recalls). Toyota has said it knew of a problem that caused a brief loss of braking during the transition from the car’s regenerative braking (which serves to power-up the car’s hybrid battery) to its traditional friction braking. Toyota refers to this as “slight unresponsiveness” and says it usually lasts less than a second.
The NHTSA has received over 100 complaints about the Prius’s brakes, including four where crashes resulted.
Toyota has said the issue has been solved on all models produced since late January but has yet to issue a recall for all 2010 models built and sold before that point. The NHTSA’s investigation is likely to ensure a recall.
See more Toyota recall news at the AutoGuide.com Toyota Recall News Hub.
Tacoma pickup was not included in recent 2.3 million vehicle recall for sticking accelerator pedals
Along with two major recalls, one for Floor Mat Entrapment and another for Sticking Accelerator Pedals, a Federal government committee will investigate whether other models, including the Toyota Tacoma and Prius, might be in need of recalls.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 100 complaints have bee made by Toyota Tacoma owners related to issues of unintended acceleration. The Tacoma, however, uses a Denso pedal assembly and not the CTS Corp. pedal assembly found in the 2.3 million recalled models for Sticking Accelerator Pedals. CTS Corp. is based in Indiana, while Denso pedal assemblies are manufactured in Japan.
The Ministry of Transportation has said it will look at whether the problem of sudden acceleration is electronic and not mechanical.
“What explains the seemingly high number of complaints in NHTSA’s database regarding sudden acceleration in this model?” the committee asked. “Is it Toyota’s opinion that most of these can be explained by driver error, erroneous reporting, or faulty floor mats?”
“Has Toyota examined the possibility that the sudden acceleration problems are not caused by the floor mats or gas pedal in some models, but by problems with the electronic sensors or the computer system which govern the accelerator? Is Toyota confident that the electronics are not involved in this problem?”
Toyota has continually denied that the issue is electronic, saying in a statement that, “After many years of exhaustive testing—by us and other outside agencies—we have found no evidence of a problem with our electronic throttle control system that could have caused unwanted acceleration. Our vehicles go through extensive electromagnetic radiation testing dynamically. We have our own test facility in Japan, we are also building one in Ann Arbor. The testing examines microwave radiation and every other type of magnetic wave and we have never been able to force our systems to fail through any of the tests that are done on them. There are many redundancies and fail safes that are built into our system. If the accelerator pedal and the throttle on the engine don’t match in their communication to each other the throttle returns to an idle position.”
The committee will also look at the 2010 Toyota Prius as a candidate for a recall, after the Japanese Ministry of Transportation asked Toyota to investigate complaints from owners for potentially faulty brakes.
The committee has asked Toyota North American president, Yoshimi Inaba to answer several questions ahead of a Feb 10th hearing, which has been titled, “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public At Risk?”
[Source: Detroit News]
Recall News Hub to Update, Educate Consumers
Amidst the continuing controversy and confusion surrounding the numerous Toyota recalls, we at AutoGuide.com have decided to launch the TOYOTA RECALL NEWS HUB. Featured on our home page and constantly updated through our news blog, we aim to bring you the very latest in recall-related news as well as list important information about what vehicles are recalled and what owners should be doing.
The Toyota Recall News Hub features two main sections, a CONSUMER section listing what owners of recalled Toyota owners need to know, as well as an INDUSTRY section reporting on all related stories, emerging news and the fallout from the ongoing crisis at Toyota that consumers and the general public want to know. The INDUSTRY section will also feature links to more salacious stories and breaking news alerts from AutoGuide affiliate TheTruthAboutCars.com, as well as from other major industry sources.
See complete Toyota Recall News after the jump: