DETROIT — Toyota Motor issued its second large recall in two months on Thursday to fix a problem with accelerator pedals that can get stuck, causing vehicles to speed up unintentionally.
Toyota said that it did not yet have a solution but in the meantime instructed drivers who experience a stuck pedal to brake with “firm and steady” pressure. The recall covers 2.3 million cars and trucks from model years 2005 through 2010 and is separate from a November recall of 4.2 million vehicles that was the largest in Toyota’s history. About 1.7 million vehicles are included in both recalls, including its best-selling model, the Camry.
The first recall was to fix a design flaw that could cause the gas pedal to become trapped under the floor mat. But the automaker continued to be dogged by reports of unintended acceleration and stuck pedals even in cases where the floor mats had been removed, a stopgap measure recommended by Toyota.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been looking into two recent incidents in Texas and New Jersey, and was considering starting an investigation. Four people died on Dec. 26 near Dallas when a Toyota Avalon sped off a road and into a pond. Police found the floor mats in the Avalon’s trunk.
Until Thursday, Toyota had denied that there was a mechanical or electronic problem with the pedals. The company said the problem was “rare” but could result in a worn gas pedal being difficult to depress, slow to spring back or getting stuck partly depressed.
“Our investigation indicates that 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,” said Irv Miller, a group vice president of Toyota Motors Sales U.S.A.
This recall includes the 2005-10 Avalon; 2007-10 Camry and Tundra; 2008-10 Sequoia; 2009-10 RAV4, Corolla and Matrix; and 2010 Highlander. It also covers the 2009-10 Pontiac Vibe, a mechanical twin to the Matrix. It does not include the Prius hybrid, which was in the November recall, or Lexus or Scion models.
Toyota dealers recently began modifying vehicles under the earlier recall, by shortening or replacing the gas pedal, removing some padding in the floor under the pedal and installing brake-override systems. That recall was prompted by another crash that killed four people, in August near San Diego.
January 22, 2010
Toyota Issues a 2nd Recall
By NICK BUNKLEY