Toyota Motor Corp. announced today a three-pronged recall of 2.17 million vehicles for sudden-acceleration related defects, warning drivers of nearly a dozen different models that their gas pedals could become entrapped by floor mats or jammed in an open position by driver’s side carpeting and plastic trim.
The latest recall is for the most part an expansion of the massive recall Toyota launched in October 2009 for defects that cause cars to accelerate violently. Sudden unintended acceleration defects in Toyota vehicles have been linked to 89 fatalities and hundreds of injuries in the United States since 2000. The original recall has been inflated by a series of additional recalls and expansions that have toppled Toyota’s reputation for quality, safety, and reliability.
Including today’s announced recall, the number of vehicles Toyota has recalled globally over safety defects has climbed to over 14 million. Most of these vehicles have been recalled by the automaker under pressure from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for defects that could lead to incidents of sudden unintended acceleration.
Toyota is adding three models to the 2009 “pedal entrapment” recall, including, in approximate numbers:
- 600,000 2003-2009 4Runner SUVs
- 761,000 2006-2010 RAV4 compact SUVs
- 17,000 2008-2011 Lexus LX 570s
Additionally, Toyota is recalling 4 models to replace driver’s side carpeting and retention clips that could interfere with the accelerator pedal. Though not part of the original floor mat entrapment recall, the consequences of this safety defect are similar. These vehicles include:
- 372,000 RX 330, RX 350 and RX 400H vehicles from the 2004 through early 2007 model years
- 397,000 2004-2006 Toyota Highlander SUVs, including hybrid versions
Finally, Toyota is recalling two GS series models over defects also related to accelerator pedal interference. In these vehicles, the plastic padding embedded on the driver’s side floor carpet may interfere with the gas pedal and potentially cause sudden unintended acceleration. Vehicles included in this part of the recall are:
- 20,000 2006-2007 GS 300 and GS 350 all-wheel drive vehicles
Toyota has maintained from the start of its recall woes that mismatched or incorrectly installed floor mats and sticky accelerator pedals are the only causes of sudden unintended acceleration in its vehicles. This claim has been disputed by many safety advocates, scientific researchers, and even ordinary drivers who say the cars can and have accelerated suddenly even when no floor mats were in place.