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Toyota Claims Fix to Sticky Accelerator Pedals

January 29, 2010 – Toyota Motor Corp. has told employees that it has figured out how to fix a problem with sticking accelerator pedals.

The company said in an e-mail to employees obtained by The Associated Press that it presented the remedy to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The memo did not say when the repairs would make their way to customers.

“Plans are being developed on a variety of fronts. Tomorrow, we will update you with further details,” Toyota said in the e-mail, sent Thursday night.

The company said on its Web site that engineers are working around the clock to fix the problem in eight of its models, including the top-selling Camry midsize sedan.

The automaker and the company that makes the gas pedal systems says the accelerators rarely stick.

But earlier this week Toyota halted sales and production of the models. It has recalled millions cars and trucks in the U.S., Europe and China because of the problem.

Toyota said Friday the recall in Europe may affect up to 1.8 million cars, including the small Yaris — its biggest seller in the region. The recall will also include the Corolla, Aygo, iQ, Auris, Verso, Avensis and the RAV4 sports utility vehicle.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is launching an investigation into the problems with Toyota’s accelerator pedal systems. It has scheduled a Feb. 4 hearing entitled, “Toyota Gas Pedals: Is the Public at Risk?”

“There appears to be growing public confusion regarding which vehicles may be affected and how people should respond. In short, the public is unsure as to what exactly the problem is, whether it is safe to drive their cars, or what they should do about it,” wrote Chairman Edolphus Towns, D-N.Y., in a letter Thursday to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Separately, a House investigative panel is planning a Feb. 25 hearing on the Toyota recalls. In a letter to NHTSA administrator David Strickland, lawmakers requested a timeline from January 2000 until the present for NHTSA’s investigations into Toyota defects and other data related to reports of sudden acceleration.

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