Special Coverage

Toyota's Safety Crisis

Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. says an additional five models have been added to its recall of vehicles for faulty or ill-fitting floor mats that could become jammed under the accelerator pedal, adding 1.09 million units to the 4.2 million that already have been called back.

Joining the list are the ’08-’10 Highlander cross/utility vehicle, ’09-’10 Corolla and Matrix compact cars and ’09-’10 Venza CUV.

A fifth vehicle is the Pontiac Vibe, a variant of the Matrix, sold by General Motors Co. but assembled by Toyota at its former joint-venture plant with GM in California, New United Motor Mfg. Inc.

Toyota last fall recalled ’07-’10 Camrys; ’05-’10 Avalons; ’04-’09 Priuses; ’05-’10 Tacomas and ’07-’10 Tundras; and ’07-’10 Lexus ES and ’06-’10 Lexus IS sedans, as part of the initial floor-mat action.

“Toyota's remedy plan is to modify or replace the accelerator pedals on the subject vehicles to address the risk of floor-mat entrapment, even when an older-design, all-weather floor mat or other inappropriate mat is improperly attached, or is placed on top of another floor mat,” the auto maker says in a statement.

Toyota will reshape pedals in affected vehicles and says it may reshape the floor surface in certain vehicles, as part of the recall. Replacement pedals will be made available to consumers whose car’s pedals have been reshaped.

The expanded campaign follows last week’s call-back, and subsequent suspension of sales this week, of eight models Toyota says may have sticky accelerator pedals.

Some of the eight models also are part of the floor-mat recalls, including the Avalon, Tundra, Highlander, Corolla, Matrix and Camry.

Additionally, Toyota is recalling models in Europe and China that it says may have faulty accelerator pedals.

In Europe, Toyota reportedly is calling back an unknown number of units. In China, some 75,552 RAV4 CUVs are being recalled.

The supplier of the faulty accelerator pedal, CTS Corp. of Elkhart, IN, yesterday issued a statement saying it knows of “fewer than a dozen instances” where Toyota owners experienced a sticking pedal.

In these instances, the pedal did not actually get stuck in the depressed position, CTS says. The company also says it knows of no injuries or accidents that have resulted from sticky accelerator pedals.

Ford Motor Co. today say it is halting production of its Transit Classic fullsize van at its JV with Jingling Motors Corp. in China because the van’s pedals are supplied by CTS.