Product Liability

Toyota will expand latest recall to include European vehicles

Last week, Toyota announced a recall of approximately 2.3 million cars and trucks in the United States because of faulty throttle assemblies that could wear over time, causing the accelerator pedal to stick or return to idle too slowly. This week, Japan’s Yomiuri newspaper reports that Toyota is expanding that recall to include about 2 million vehicles in Europe.

The 4.3 million vehicles expected to be included in both the American and European recalls amount to 55 percent of the 7.81 million vehicles that Toyota sold in 2009, the Wall Street Journal says.

The number does not include the 4.2 million vehicles that Toyota announced in September in a separate safety recall of cars and trucks with the potential to accelerate suddenly and unexpectedly.

The unintended acceleration recall is the largest recall in automotive history.

Once Toyota has developed a solution to the sticking accelerator problem, the repair must be approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota will then notify owners of the affected vehicles by mail with instructions on arranging for the free repairs.

The additional recall comes at a time when Toyota is working to recover the trust it lost with many American consumers after admittedly mishandling reports of unintended acceleration. Toyota first denied the existence of an unintended acceleration problem and acted only when a particularly gruesome and highly publicized car accident in San Diego last summer claimed the lives of California Highway Patrol officer Mark Saylor and three of his family members.

The faulty accelerator pedal components at the center of the sticking accelerator recall were supplied by a Canadian facility of CTS Automotive and used in a currently undetermined number of General Motors’ 2009 and 2010 Pontiac Vibes, which were modeled after the Toyota Prius and produced by Toyota in California. GM is expected to announce a recall of the affected Vibes soon.