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Indiana Toyota Supplier Denies Making Bad Pedals

CTS says it has no knowledge of accidents or injuries.

by on Jan.27, 2010

CTS Corporation (NYSE: CTS) said this afternoon that the pedals it supplied to Toyota met its design specifications. The company made at least some of the pedals involved in the recall.

“Based on information that Toyota has provided us, we are aware of fewer than a dozen instances where this condition has occurred, and in no instance did the accelerator actually become stuck in a partially depressed condition,” CTS said in a carefully worded statement.

The assertion comes as Toyota Motor Corporation considers expanding its pedal recall from the North America to other global markets.

Toyota’s credibility about its assertions of the causes of runaway or unintended acceleration accidents has been damaged by recent events. Although the company continually said that it was caused by a floor mat interference problem, at least one accident, involving multiple fatalities, has been reported where the floor mats were removed from the car and locked in the trunk when the deaths occurred.

The company announced yesterday that it would stop sales of about 60% of its vehicles (by volume) in North America while it searches for a root cause.

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc, a TMC subsidiary, announced last week  it would recall approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on eight Toyota Division models.

This action is separate – thus far — from the on-going recall of approximately 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to reduce the risk of “pedal entrapment” by incorrect or out of place accessory floor mats. Approximately 1.7 million Toyota Division vehicles are subject to both recall actions.  

CTS — clearly under pressure due to the negative  financial implications of the recall and a subsequent stop sale and manufacturing halt of eight Toyota models in North America, which could spread to other regions  — said, “Toyota is a small, but important, customer of CTS, representing approximately 3% of our annual sales.”

The company added, “CTS has been actively working with Toyota for a while to develop a new pedal to meet tougher specifications from Toyota. The newly designed pedal is now tested and parts are beginning to ship to some Toyota factories.”

It was not immediately clear what other suppliers of pedals — if any– are in the U.S. or globally or that they would be involved in the recall. CTS manufactures products in North America, Europe and Asia. Phone calls and e-mails to Toyota and CTS requesting clarification have thus far been unanswered.

“In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,” said TMS Group Vice President Irv Miller, when the pedal recall was announced late last week.

“Our investigation indicates that there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position. Consistent with our commitment to the safety of our cars and our customers, we have initiated this voluntary recall action,” Miller said.

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2 Responses to “Indiana Toyota Supplier Denies Making Bad Pedals”

  1. Ken Zino says:

    Toyota eventually released this statement a day after we asked for comment — Ken Zino, editor, TheDetroitBureau.com :

    Statement from Toyota on Supplier CTS, 28 January, 2010

    Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America (TEMA) has been working closely with supplier CTS on a revised design that effectively remedies the problem associated with accelerator pedals. Pedals featuring the revised design are now in full production at CTS to support Toyota’s needs. Meanwhile, we are also working with them to test effective modifications to existing pedals in the field that will be rolled out as quickly as possible.

    “We commend CTS for working diligently and collaboratively to find a solution to the potential problem and in developing a new design,” said Chris Nielsen, TEMA’s Vice President of Purchasing.

    “CTS is a long-term and valued supplier to us.”

  2. Ken Zino says:

    CTS Chairman Vinod Khilnani confirmed this morning that the company had been working with Toyota for a “long time” to change the Toyota specified design, which is different from the pedals it makes for other automakers.

    The question arises as to why it Toyota so long to acknowledge the revised design?