The Prius is just one of many Toyota vehicles facing a recall - and questions about possible further safety problems allegedly causing "runaway cars."
With legal pressures mounting, Toyota is working with federal safety regulators to see if another problem may be contributing to what some are dubbing “runaway cars,” a problem that recently spurred the Japanese maker to recall 3.8 million vehicles, including some popular models like the Camry and Prius.
A senior Toyota official, earlier this month, insisted that the problem is caused by floor mats that can be wedged, inadvertently, under the gas pedal. Bob Carter, general manager of the Toyota division, asserted that discussions of other problems are just, “unwarranted speculation.” But federal regulators are now looking at other options, notably including a potentially defective floor plan design. And others involved in the matter continue to point to possibly faulty electronic systems, including vehicle sensors.
The ongoing investigation — and debate — is proving worrisome for Toyota, which has carefully cultivated an image of being the safest, most reliable and most consumer-focused of automotive brands. While company officials insist they are being open with the public, and government investigators, they worry the issue could start tarnishing the brand if it isn’t resolved soon.
Your Auto News Source!
“My only fear, now, it timing,” said Mark Templin, general manager of Toyota’s premium division, Lexus. “I have full confidence in our cars, but it’s a matter of getting a vehicle-based resolution before people get overly concerned.”
But despite earlier comments by Toyota officials that the government investigation has clearly shown the floor mats to be the cause of the problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, cautions the case is not closed. NHTSA openly confirms that it is looking at floor pan design as well as carpet mats, which can come loose if not carefully remounted, for example, after a Toyota product is cleaned at a car wash.