In an unprecedented move, Toyota suspended sales of eight of its recalled models including two of its most popular models, the Camry and Corolla. Additionally, Toyota has shut down production at five of its manufacturing plants as the company assesses the damage and comes up with a game plan.
From Toyota’s website:
“Helping ensure the safety of our customers and restoring confidence in Toyota are very important to our company,” said Group Vice President and Toyota Division General Manager Bob Carter. “This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized. We’re making every effort to address this situation for our customers as quickly as possible.”
The first recall, issued in September 2009, affecting 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus cars, involves floor mats which may get stuck under the gas pedal. The second recall, issued last week, addresses mechanical problems that could cause the gas pedal to stick, affecting 2.3 million vehicles. There are approximately 1.7 million Toyota vehicles that are subject to both recalls.
Vehicles affected by the gas pedal recall and suspension of sales and production include:
2007-2010 Camry (certain models)
These vehicles are not affected by the recalls and are still available for sale:
Lexus Division or Scion
Select Camry models, including all Camry hybrids
According to industry analysts, Toyota sells approximately 65,000 Camrys and Corollas a month, comprising about 3.4 percent of the market share. These models represent 57 percent of Toyota’s sales in the United States for 2009. This is a move that could put a serious dent in Toyota’s bottom line. The question is – will it tarnish their reputation for safety and quality? Some may see Toyota’s recall and suspension of sales as an example of Corporate America doing the right thing by discontinuing sales of cars that may be dangerous to consumers. Other may see this as an effort that is a little too late.
Toyota maintains that this is a rare problem that occurs gradually when parts of the gas pedal become worn. They contend the gas pedal may become harder to press and slower to return to the idle position when the driver takes their foot off the pedal. And, worst case scenario the accelerator pedal may become stuck in a partially depressed position causing uncontrolled acceleration. According to Toyota, if you are not experiencing any of these problems, then it is still safe to drive your car. If your gas pedal is sticking or if there is any hesitation, you should stop driving your car and contact your Toyota dealer.
General Motors is also recalling its Pontiac Vibe, which is basically the same car as the Toyota Matrix. However, GM is not suspending sales of the Pontiac Vibe, as GM has stopped production on this car as part of its phase-out plan of the Pontiac brand.
While, it appears Toyota is trying to do the right thing issuing the recalls and suspension of sales and production, common sense dictates that you have your vehicle checked if you suspect any problems at all with your car. The old cliche, “it’s better to be safe, than sorry”, is never more true than when applied to a 4,000+ pound motor vehicle.
Toyota owners who have questions or concerns about their car should contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.