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Toyota Europe Recalls Eight Models for Bad Pedals

Accelerator pedal sticking problem is going global. Another 1.8 million units could be affected. More recalls coming?

by on Jan.29, 2010

Unlike the U.S., Toyota in Europe will keep producing vehicles.

Toyota Motor Europe officially announced this morning the recall of eight Toyota models in Europe for the same sticking pedal problem that has the U.S. Congress demanding public hearings. The vehicles are among the most popular in its European range.

TheDetroitBureau.com reported on the expansion of the recall in Europe and Asia earlier in the week. A recall is now underway in China as well.

The number of European involved units is still under investigation at the beleaguered company, but may include as many as 1.8 million more vehicles. No Lexus models and no other Toyota models are affected, thus far.

We have been unable to determine if multiple suppliers or just one, CTS, is the maker of the defective pedals. Denso is known to be a supplier of Toyota pedals as well, and possibly Hella.

Last week Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) announced last it would recall approximately 2.3 million vehicles to correct sticking accelerator pedals on eight Toyota Division models. It was subsequently revealed that CTS  made the pedals to Toyota’s design specifications. Toyota also stopped the sales of the vehicles and plans to halt production at five North American plants, after the U.S. Secretary of Transportation intervened to prompt the action.

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Recalls!

A running change in production using different parts has already been implemented for the models on sale in Europe. Toyota Europe also said in a statement that there is “no need or intention to stop production in Europe.” Whether that holds remains to be seen.

“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,” the company said.

Toyota claims the problem is caused because the accelerator pedal mechanisms may become worn. “This progressive wear, combined with certain operating and environmental conditions, can cause friction in the mechanism to increase and intermittently result in the accelerator pedal being harder to depress, slow to return or, in the worst case, stick in a partially open position.”

My translation or working thesis, not verified by a less than forthcoming Toyota – is that the pedal assembly, which is mounted near the heater outlet duct in the footwell, is picking up condensation in its hinge, corroding and then becoming difficult to operate. It could also be dirt or just wear – or a combination of  all.

There still could be another software issue with Toyota models,  as well. I am trying to confirm that unlike most other car companies, the engine control computer does not over-ride an accelerator input request for power if the brake is being applied at the same time.

Toyota now says it has identified a remedy for this issue, and is currently pursuing a final evaluation and confirmation procedure.

As soon as a fix is confirmed, Toyota “will communicate to customers and other concerned parties the details of the corrective action and of the implementation procedure,” the company said.

“Toyota’s policy is to put its customers first, in all circumstances,” said Tadashi Arashima, President and CEO of Toyota Motor Europe. “We understand that the current situation is creating concerns, and we deeply regret it. We would also like to reassure customers: the potential accelerator pedal issue only occurs in very rare circumstances. The announced action is a preventive measure aimed to guarantee the highest safety standards to all customers.”

The involved models and production periods are as follows:

  • AYGO (Feb 2005 – Aug 2009)
  • iQ (Nov 2008 – Nov 2009)
  • Yaris (Nov 2005 – Sep 2009)
  • Auris (Oct 2006 – 5 Jan 2010)
  • Corolla (Oct 2006 – Dec 2009)
  • Verso (Feb 2009 – 5 Jan 2010)
  • Avensis (Nov 2008 – Dec 2009)
  • RAV4 (Nov 2005 – Nov 2009)

Only a limited number of incidents have been reported in Europe, and Toyota Motor Europe is not aware of any accident resulting from this issue, according to the company.

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