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Toyota Responds to Fleet Safety Concerns About Unintended Vehicle Acceleration

Cumulatively, 78,000 Toyota models in fleet service are affected by the two voluntary safety recalls. Toyota is working to ensure fleet customers are advised of the facts regarding these recalls and remedies it has implemented.

May 2010, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Over the past decade, Toyota has steadily increased its commercial and government fleet market shares. As a consequence, the recent publicity regarding the alleged unintended acceleration of certain Toyota models has gained the attention of fleet managers and their senior management. Cumulatively, 78,000 Toyota models currently in fleet service are affected by voluntary safety recalls.

In particular, Toyota has two distinct and separate voluntary safety recalls related to unintended acceleration. The first recall deals with floor mat entrapment, which may interfere with the accelerator. The second recall, "Sticking Pedal," covers accelerator pedals made by one specific manufacturer.

To help answer questions in the minds of fleet managers about these voluntary safety recalls, Automotive Fleet interviewed Scott Heyer, corporate manager, fleet for Toyota Motors Sales, USA. Below are excerpts from our interview.

AF: Which Toyota models are being recalled and what are the reasons for the recalls?

HEYER: Toyota is addressing two distinct and separate voluntary safety recalls related to unintended acceleration.

The first recall, "Floor Mat Entrapment," concerns the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat to interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause it to become entrapped in the wide-open or near wide-open position. Toyota has determined this does not occur in vehicles in which the driver-side floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured.  

Toyota developed a multifaceted remedy to minimize the likelihood of floor mat entrapment and reduce the likelihood of any safety consequences. The remedy program is being phased in on a model-by-model basis. We have advised our customers that until the recall remedy is performed, they should remove all removable drivers' floor mats. In such a case where the customer chooses not to remove the floor mat, they should make sure the mat is properly secured.

A Toyota vehicle included in the "Floor Mat Entrapment" recall is safe to drive if the driver's floor mat is removed or properly secured. Vehicles included in this recall are:

● Toyota Avalon (2005-2010).
● Toyota Camry, Camry Hybrid (2007-2010).
● Toyota Corolla (2009-2010).
● Toyota Highlander, Highlander Hybrid (2008-2010).
● Toyota Matrix (2009-2010).
● Toyota Prius (2004-2009).
● Toyota Tacoma (2005-2010).
● Toyota Tundra (2007-2010).
● Toyota Venza (2009-2010).
● Lexus ES (2007-2010).
● Lexus IS (2006-2010).

The second recall, "Sticking Pedal," covers accelerator pedals made by one specific manufacturer. It involves the possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms, in rare instances, may mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.

Over time, the internal mechanisms in the accelerator pedal may become worn. As a result of this wear, combined with certain operating and environmental conditions, friction in the mechanism may increase and intermittently result in the accelerator pedal being hard to depress and/or slow to return or, in the worst case, to stick in a partially open position.  

Toyota has developed a remedy for this issue, and all known owners of affected vehicles have already been notified and requested to bring their vehicles to a Toyota dealer for repair. Vehicles included in this recall are:

● Toyota Avalon (2005-2010).
● Toyota Camry (2007-2010).
● Toyota Camry Hybrid (2009).
● Toyota Corolla (2009-2010).
● Toyota Highlander (2010).
● Toyota Matrix (2009-2010).
● Toyota RAV4 (2009-2010).
● Toyota Sequoia (2008-2010).
● Toyota Tundra (2007-2010).

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