November 4, 2009
Toyota’s metaphorical accelerator apparently jammed yesterday in its rush to declare itself not guilty on all charges of sudden unintended acceleration in its mass market and luxury lines. The automaker issued a letter affirming its innocence to its customers on the occasion of NHTSA dropping yet another investigation into SUA in Lexus vehicles and blaming the problem on accessory floor mats.
But NHTSA was just as quick in its reaction. Yesterday afternoon, it delivered the smackdown.
Here’s the official statement via DOT Press Secretary Sasha Johnson:
“Toyota has announced a safety recall involving 3.8 million vehicles in which the accelerator pedal may become stuck at high vehicle speeds due to interference by the driver’s side floor mat, which is obviously a very dangerous situation. Toyota has written to vehicle owners stating that it has decided that a safety defect exists in their vehicles and asking owners to remove all floor mats while the company is developing a remedy. We believe consumers should follow Toyota’s recommendation to address the most immediate safety risk. However, removal of the mats is simply an interim measure, not a remedy of the underlying defect in the vehicles. NHTSA is discussing with Toyota what the appropriate vehicle remedy or remedies will be. This matter is not closed until Toyota has effectively addressed the vehicle defect by providing a suitable remedy.”