Toyota Recalls Additional 1.09M Cars In US; Recall Expanded to Europe and China

January 28, 2010 – Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will recall an additional 1.09 million vehicles in the United States over problems with gas pedals and floor mats — a fresh blow to the world’s top automaker as it struggles to salvage its safety reputation.

Toyota’s recall troubles continue to grow, with the total number of vehicles affected by two recalls involving gas pedals growing to at least 5.3 million.

The latest addition to the recalls was announced Wednesday, with 1.1 million vehicles added to the 4.2 million recalled in November to fix a problem in which the gas pedal can become caught on the edge of the removable floor mat, causing the vehicle to accelerate uncontrollably.

A separate recall of 2.3 million vehicles announced last week, involving accelerator pedals that can stick on their own — is being expanded to include an undisclosed number of vehicles in Europe.

In most cases, the same vehicles are involved in both recalls. It was not immediately clear how many different vehicles, in total, are part of the two actions.

The vehicles being added to the floor mat-related recall are the 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Venza, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe.

General Motors’ Pontiac car is included in the recall because the Vibe and Toyota’s Matrix are similar vehicles that were produced under a partnership between the two companies.

The vehicles originally included in the floor mat-related recall were the 2007-2010 Toyota Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2007-2010 Lexus ES350, 2006-2010 IS250 and the 2006-2010 IS350.

Most, but not all, of the vehicles involved in the stuck pedal recall are also involved in the other recall. They are the 2009-2010 Toyota RAV4, Corolla and Matrix and the Pontiac Vibe; the 2005-2010 Avalon; 2010 Highlander; 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia; and some 2007-2010 Camry.

Toyota has been working with the pedal supplier and is close to having a new pedal design ready for approval by regulators, a Toyota spokesman said Thursday.

In the meantime, owners who experience sticking or slowness in the movement of their car’s gas pedal should stop driving the car and call a Toyota dealer immediately.

Toyota extended its safety recall of millions of its most popular cars to Europe and China on Thursday in a further blow to the reputation of the world’s largest auto maker.

In China, the world’s biggest auto market in 2009, the carmaker said on Thursday it had submitted an application to recall over 75,000 RAV4 vehicles.

All the cars being recalled in North America, Europe and China have pedals made by supplier CTS Corp.

A further 2 million in Europe would take the total to 8 million, almost the same as its group global sales last year.

A Toyota Europe spokeswoman said the models and exact number of potentially affected vehicles was under investigation but there was no need to stop production.

Cars sold in Japan do not use the parts in question.

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