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Toyota Halting Sales of 8 Recalled Models

Automaker hoping to assess problems with accelerators.

by on Jan.26, 2010

The recall of 2.3 million Toyotas, including the Camry shown, has led the maker to halt sales of eight models and stop production at five North American plants.

Days after announcing another recall of 2.3 million vehicles due to a problem with sticking accelerator pedals, Toyota has announced it will halt U.S. sales of eight models impacted by the recall.

The maker says it will also halt North American production of those vehicles in February, which include the popular Camry and RAV4 models, while it takes steps to “assess and coordinate activities” related to the problem.

It is extremely rare for an automaker to stop the sale of a single vehicle model, let alone multiple models in the line that make up the bulk of its sales.

The latest news only adds to the mounting quality and reliability woes facing a manufacturer long known for near bulletproof reliability.  Last year, Toyota recalled nearly 4.5 million vehicles in North America, including 4.2 million impacted by a separate problem with runaway acceleration.  The maker has asked owners of those vehicles to remove floor mats, which it says can inadvertently entrap the throttle.  Dealers are preparing to begin repairs, which will include the replacement of the gas pedal and, on some models, the installation of a digital controller to prevent a driver from inadvertently activating both throttle and brake simultaneously.

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Of the 2.3 million vehicles affected by the latest sticky accelerator recall, a total of about 1.7 million are also going to need repair for the floor mat entrapment problem.

Models impacted by the halt in sales are the:

  • RAV4 (the recall impacts 2009 and ’10 models;
  • Corolla (recalled for the 2009 and ’10 model-years);
  • Matrix (recalled for 2009 and 2010);
  • Avalon (recalled for model-years 2005 through 2010);
  • Camry (recalled from 2007 through 2010);
  • Highlander (recalled for the 2010 model-year);
  • Tundra (recalled from 2007 to 2010); and the
  • Sequoia (recalled for the 2008 through 2010 model-years).

The production plant shutdown is currently scheduled for the week of February 1st.  It is not clear how long the halt in sales will last, but it is safe to assume that the company is looking to see which vehicles in its distribution network are actually impacted by the safety glitch — which a spokesman described as involving only relatively small numbers of vehicles.

Along with the two big recalls involving accelerator issues, Toyota has recently announced the recall of 110,000 Tundra pickup trucks  due to what government regulators described as “excessive corrosion” that can lead to parts, including spare tires, breaking off the vehicles.  Meanwhile, a federal investigation is underway involving reports of sudden stalling, sometimes at high speeds, by Corolla and Matrix models.

And, as TheDetroitBureau.com revealed, during the recent holidays, another investigation is underway at Toyota concerning reports of brake problems with the company’s image flagship, the Prius hybrid.  Owners complain that the third-generation 2010 Prius’s brakes can release unexpectedly when the hybrid hits a bump or pothole.  Company officials acknowledge they are looking into the “issue” and say it could be the result of brake intervention systems, such as ABS, though they so far deny it is an actual safety problem.

The North America vehicle production facilities affected are:

  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Canada (Corolla, Matrix, and RAV4)
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Indiana (Sequoia and Highlander)
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky – Line 1 (Camry and Avalon)
  • Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. (Camry)
  • Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Texas (Tundra)

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13 Responses to “Toyota Halting Sales of 8 Recalled Models”

  1. Ken Zino says:

    The official Toyota FAQs: – Ken Zino, editor

    Frequently Asked Questions for the Sticking Accelerator Pedal Recall
    What is the condition that has prompted Toyota to take this action?
    In rare instances, there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.

    What is the likelihood that my vehicle will experience this condition?
    The incidence of this condition is rare and occurs gradually over a period time. It can occur when the pedal mechanism becomes worn and, in certain conditions, the accelerator pedal may become harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position.

    What should I do if I believe my vehicle is affected by this condition?, i.e. I have noticed that my accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation.
    The vehicle should be driven to the nearest safe location, the engine shut off and a Toyota dealer contacted for assistance.

    What if you experience a sticking accelerator pedal while driving?
    • Each circumstance may vary, and drivers must use their best judgment, but Toyota recommends taking one of following actions:
    • If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.
    • Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
    • If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
    o If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
    o If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.

    If I am an owner of one of the affected vehicles, what action do I need to take?
    Toyota is working quickly to prepare a correction remedy and will issue owner notifications in the future. No action is required at this time unless you feel you are experiencing this condition. If you are experiencing this condition, immediately contact your nearest Toyota Dealer for assistance.

    What should I do if I still have questions or concerns?
    If you still have questions or concerns that have not been addressed here, please contact the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
    The Toyota Customer Experience Center hours are:
    Mon – Fri, 5:00 am – 6:00 pm PST
    Sat, 7:00 am – 4:00 pm PST

  2. JM in San Diego CA says:

    Thanks for that, Ken.

    Regarding the extensive production halt: There’s apparently a linkage problem too. If my doc can glue me closed after abdominal surgery (yes, glue), Toyota ought to be able to glue down those troublesome floormats in a few minutes apiece. It’s floormats plus something else

    Am I off-base?

  3. tdb says:

    Here’s a question that gels watching the latest recall…
    Some time back, a Toyota executive told me the company didn’t have many recalls, but when they did they were doozies, because it tended to share components far more broadly than its competitors, especially those in Detroit. Usually, that meant it new a particular widget worked and worked well. But if a problem cropped up it would hit a lot of vehicles over a lot of model years.
    The latest sticky accelerator problem is a perfect example.
    The question is whether Toyota is cutting corners on validation. Are they testing once then figuring they can skip or minimize subsequent validation testing in additional applications?
    Just a thought.
    Paul A. Eisenstein
    Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

  4. DGate says:

    I think instead of speculating on the reasons which none of really know the facts of, it should be noted they are making a fantastic effort to fix it rather than ignore it.
    To stop production and address the issue on millions of used vehicles is unprecedented and should solicit applause not gossip.

  5. JM in San Diego CA says:

    Absolutely I applaud them but it’s in the nature of those of us who do science and mechanics for a living to engage in such speculation. Our minds are wired that way. If you’d prefer that we keep it to ourselves, I’m happy to listen but I can’t promise to oblige.

    JM

    • Ken Zino says:

      We would still be in the primordial mud if speculation about the physical nature of the universe had not led to the scientific method, which will eventually track down the root cause of pedal sticking.

      My working thesis is that the pedal assembly, which is mounted near the heater outlet duct in the footwell is picking up condensation in its hinge and becoming difficult to operate. This doesn’t mean that there is not another software issue with Toyota models. I am trying to confirm that unlike most other car companies, the software does not over-ride an accelerator input request for power IF the brake is being applied at the same time.

      Toyota completely mishandled this in my view, and is still not communicating effectively. – Ken Zino, editor

  6. DGate says:

    I hardly think the comments I was referring to are under the definition of science and mechanics.
    However if you were to engage in a “hands on” approach into the problem seeking a solution this would fit the science and mechanics definition.
    Remote speculation of a problem without having access to the facts and systems and not actually engaging in “hands on” activity is nothing more than conjecture between two parties, However when going public it becomes gossip or heresy.
    You have every right to express your opinion but all too often conjectural remarks made public without any foundation are repeated by others as fact.
    This leads to confusion, misconceptions and doesn’t really contribute to solving the problem in the first instance only destroying confidence in a brand.
    I too would like to tackle the problem but not having access to the facts or faulty systems I choose to point out their positive actions taken which “are” factual and not conjecture.

  7. JM in San Diego CA says:

    >> I hardly think the comments I was referring to are
    >> under the definition of science and mechanics.

    I’m sorry. Apparently my word choice was unclear. What I meant to suggest is how some people (like myself) are naturally given to speculation. Nothing more. Now happily retired, I spent my entire working life fixing things and solving problems. I was at my best when I could think a few moves ahead, as in chess. *

    In these discussion groups, speculation is a common mental exercise. Please think “brainstorming.” (Otherwise, I’d be guilty of criticizing Toyota, which would be unfair of me.)

    As it happens, my speculation was correct. There IS something wrong with the pedal assemblies and/or associated linkage, a fact revealed publicly after I posted my speculation.

    I feel bad about the problems Toyota is having and I hope they can work things out quickly.

    Best wishes,
    JM

    * It’s really uncomfortable to have to say, “If this doesn’t do it, I don’t know what to try next.”

  8. DGate says:

    They can now add Ford motor co to this list as they have shut down production of a joint Chinese built commercial vehicle. They are using the same supplier as Toyota for these accelerator units.
    Hope toyota bashers realise in todays world market components can be shared amongst companies and are not necessarily made by the name brand company.
    Wonder if any more will surface??

  9. tdb says:

    DGate,
    At the moment, Ford’s action appears to be proactive based on the fact that a small number of Chinese-made vans are using the same *supplier* (emphasis mine). It is anything but certain that Ford has a problem, at all. Right now, anyone sourcing from CTS would be right to check. You’re right, to a degree, about shared components, but you have only half the story. The Toyota accelerators appear to have been built to a very specific Toyota engineering spec. See the following story for more on the CTS response:

    http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2010/01/cts-says-toyota-responsible-for-pedal-recall/

    It is not clear, yet, whether CTS provides accelerator assemblies for other Toyota products not impacted by the latest recall. We have seen this on numerous occasions where a supplier produces a single bad part for a specific customer using that automaker’s specifications but has no trouble with any other part.
    This is not to let Ford off the hook, nor necessarily to tar and feather Toyota, but 1) I bridle at being called a Toyota-basher simply because of pointing out the degree of urgency in the company’s situation, 2) I don’t think the automaker should be let off the hook anymore than any other maker would in the same situation.

    Toyota, it should be noted, is probably the most aggressive of mainstream brands in terms of sharing components among such a wide range of models. As a Sr. VP noted to me, a year back, “We don’t have many recalls, but when we do, this means we have big ones.” The problem is that this is starting to happen more often, which raises questions about whether the vaunted Toyota system can handle its own growth and expanded engineering challenges.

    Once the latest recalls are resolved it will be telling to see if we see more safety issues in the near future or if Toyota again lives up to the quality and reliability perceptions it has cultivated, over the decades.

    In particular, we are concerned about whether the problem we uncovered with the 2010 Prius brakes:

    http://www.thedetroitbureau.com/2009/12/nhtsa-tracking-braking-loss-on-prius-hybrids/

    prove to be an inconsequential matter or another serious safety problem. And, frankly, considering the role Prius has a halo car, this could make or break the company’s image.
    Paul A. Eisenstein
    Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

  10. DGate says:

    Sorry you were offended by the term Toyota basher,
    it was not meant for you or anyone contributing so far. I also take your point on the intricacies of component manufacturing.
    Additional to the recall, in Europe they are recalling the diminutive IQ,the Aygo,Yaris,Auris,Corolla,Verso,Avensis,and Rav4.
    The numbers may reach up to 1.8 million.

  11. Hi, D,
    Thanks for the follow-up note…and sorry if I seemed defensive. To be honest, I have been writing some tough stories about Toyota for several years and was convinced there’d be big problems to come, though not quite like this. I was accused of being hard on the maker but, frankly, the company’s own CEO has been perhaps a bit tougher since taking on that post. He’s got a tough job ahead of him.
    Paul A. Eisenstein
    Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com

  12. DGate says:

    The accelerator recall has now expanded to Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107 models in Europe.
    These are virtual copies of the Toyota Aygo so not surprising they were affected.