The AP reported the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration closed its investigation of Toyota Motor Corp. after the company recalled over two million US vehicles on Thursday “to address accelerator pedals that could become entrapped in floor mats or jammed in driver’s side carpeting.” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said the agency asked Toyota to recall the vehicles after reviewing over 400,000 pages of Toyota documents to establish whether the extent of its recalls concerning the pedals was adequate. Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said the additional pedal entrapment recalls were “based on our continued constructive dialogue with NHTSA. While our actions up to now have led to a substantial reduction in reports of acceleration concerns, we mutually agreed that Toyota would take these additional steps to help ensure that acceleration concerns are further reduced.”
The Wall Street Journal reported a Toyota spokesman said the recall was modified “based on our continued constructive dialogue” with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and “While our actions up to now have led to a substantial reduction in reports of acceleration concerns, we mutually agreed that Toyota would take these additional steps to help ensure that acceleration concerns are further reduced.” Toyota stressed the recall didn’t have anything to do with newly-discovered defects.
The Chicago Tribune reported the models in need of gas pedal repair are the 2008 to 2011 model year Lexus LX 570; 2010 Toyota RAV4; and the 2003 to 2009 Toyota 4Runner. The 2006 to 2007 Lexus RX 330, RX 350, and RX 400h models, and the 2004 to 2006 year models of the Toyota Highlander and Highlander Hybrid are being recalled to “replace the floormat and retention clips.” The automaker “has not said how it will remedy the issue for the new models and will send out a preliminary notice ‘in the near future’ to owners.”
The Los Angeles Times also reports, “Toyota laid out an extensive number of repairs that it will be required to make, some of which have not yet been developed. In the case of the Highlander and the Lexus RX, Toyota said that it would repair the defect by replacing a carpet trim panel near the accelerator.” Company spokesman Brian Lyons “stopped short of guaranteeing this would be the last sudden acceleration recall, but he predicted that the latest recalls would significantly reduce consumer complaints.” Edmunds.com senior analyst Bill Visnic said the recalls would reignite customer concerns about sudden acceleration.
The Reuters reported skepticism among safety advocates that the automaker’s issues were not yet resolved. Safety Research & Strategies, Inc. President Sean Kane said problems would continue to persist until Toyota identified the origin of its defects.
The National Law Journal also reported skepticism among plaintiffs’ attorneys about the causes of the latest sudden acceleration problems. W. Daniel Miles, who serves on the plaintiffs’ committee addressing wrongful death cases against Toyota in multi-district litigation said, “We believe there is much more to this recent recall than just floor mats entrapping the gas pedal.” Steve Berman serves on the corresponding committee for economic damages cases against Toyota. He suggested “the fresh recall underscores claims that Toyota knew about the gas pedal problems but failed to report them.”
Bloomberg News recalled, “Toyota called back millions of US vehicles in 2009 and 2010, mostly for defects related to unintended acceleration. The carmaker also paid a record $48.8 million in fines for how some of the recalls were conducted. The recalls caused the Toyota City, Japan-based company to briefly halt sales of some models in 2010 and contributed to its 0.4 percent US sales decrease last year, the only such decline among large automakers.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.