Toyota has announced (finally) that it will begin repairing defective throttles almost immediately. Here are excerpts from an article in the New York Times:
Toyota Motor on Monday said repairs to accelerator pedals in millions of recalled vehicles would begin later this week as it tried to reassure customers and show that it had the situation under control.
Toyota said many dealers had extended hours and some would stay open around the clock so that the pedals could be fixed as quickly as possible.
The president of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., James Lentz, maintained that the pedal repairs, along with modifications aimed at preventing the pedal from getting trapped under the floor mat, would resolve the problems with unintended acceleration that prompted the recalls.
“These two fixes solve the issues that we know of,” Mr. Lentz said on a conference call with reporters. “It is not an electronics issue.”
Mr. Lentz maintained that the vehicles under recall were safe to drive, even before the repairs were made, unless drivers experienced signs that the pedal had become worn and was more difficult to use.
“I feel comfortable having people that are close to me driving our products,” he said. “That’s what I tell my friends and neighbors when they as me as well. I am confident that these vehicles are safe.”
The company said its engineers had developed and “rigorously tested” a remedy that involved reinforcing the pedal before vehicles leave the factory to eliminate excess friction. On cars and trucks that already have been sold, dealers will perform what Toyota said was an “effective and simple” process that involved installing a steel reinforcement bar into the pedal assembly to reduce the surface tension that could cause it to stick.
Mr. Lentz said Toyota first received reports of sticking pedals on three vehicles in October but he denied that the carmaker waited too long to react. Robert M. Waltz, Toyota’s vice president for product quality and service support, said in the conference call that duplicating the problem was difficult and that tests did not immediately show the need to issue a recall. On Nov. 2, another American Toyota executive, Bob Carter, told reporters that the company had no evidence of problems beyond the vehicles’ floor mats, which it had told customers to temporarily remove.