January 27, 2010
Toyota announced on Thursday that it was recalling about 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals, after investigating isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms. Toyota claimed it was a wear issue – even though most of the models recalled included 2009 and 2010 model years. After the news broke, several stories noted that Toyota was continuing to sell the affected models without the remedy already applied. While it is normal for manufacturers who recall vehicles to instruct their dealers to repair vehicles on their lots before selling them, Toyota’s announcement today covers a number of the best-selling vehicles and the company will halt production at its North American plants until it has a remedy plan.
“This is a desperate move by a company desperate to control a situation that has already spiraled out of control,” says SRS president Sean E. Kane. “We know that Toyota sudden Unintended Acceleration is a multi-faceted problem across many model lines and models years. This move might buy them a brief distraction, but the problems aren’t going away even after a fix is in place for the vehicles included in this recent recall.”
Unintended acceleration is occurring across a number of Toyota makes, models and years and under varying circumstances. Based on Safety Research & Strategies’ review of complaints, owner interviews and vehicle inspections, there appears to be a multitude of root causes ranging from mechanical interface to unidentified electronic defects. Thus far, Toyota has only been willing to recall some vehicles for mechanical defects. Many vehicle models with high rates of unintended acceleration complaints, like the 2002 to 2006 Camry models are still not part of any recall. Regardless, all of these problems point back to the lack of appropriate failsafe designs – designs that ensure the driver can easily control the vehicle, when something does go wrong.
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