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Toyota recalls include the Pontiac Vibe

All the news about Toyota’s record-breaking recalls and its week-old production and sales suspension have made it easy to forget about the Pontiac Vibe, the hybrid car that General Motors manufactured for the 2009 and 2010 model years. But what does a General Motors car have to do with the Toyota recalls? A true hybrid in more ways than one, the Vibe is actually a spin-off of the Toyota Matrix and Corolla. Toyota actually manufactured all three vehicles at the now-defunct New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) plant in Fremont, California. NUMMI was a joint venture between General Motors and ... Read More

Toyota begins repairing “sticky” gas pedals

Indiana-based CTS Corporation is cooperating with Toyota by sending new gas pedal assemblies to replace the ones Toyota claims are potentially defective, but the supplier says that the new pedals won’t solve the sudden acceleration problem that afflicts so many Toyota vehicles. Toyota issued a recall of 2.3 million cars and sport utility vehicles in January, on top of the 4.2 million vehicles it recalled in September the potential to accelerate unexpectedly — a problem Toyota says is caused by floor mat interference with the gas pedal. The auto manufacturer then suspended sales and further production of all the models ... Read More

Federal government ordered Toyota production and sales suspension

Yesterday, Toyota ran full-page advertisements in more than 20 major American newspapers to tell customers that its decision to suspend production and sales of many of its top-selling vehicles is just a “Temporary pause. To put you first,” as the headline proclaims. “Why have we taken this unprecedented action?” Toyota asks in the ad. “Because it’s the right thing to do for our customers.” However, Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood’s told Chicago radio station WGN last week that the federal government pressed the company to halt production of the vehicles. “The reason Toyota decided to do the recall and to stop ... Read More

Toyota adds more vehicles to sudden acceleration recall

Toyota announced that it will recall more than a million other cars and trucks in the United States over concerns that the vehicles could accelerate suddenly and unintentionally. The world’s largest car manufacturer added approximately 1.09 million to the recall list of 4.2 million vehicles that it originally announced last September. Toyota claims that the floor mats in these vehicles can become locked with the gas pedal, trapping it in an open position and causing the vehicle to accelerate unexpectedly. The new additions to the sudden acceleration recall include the 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Venza, 2009-2010 Matrix, and 2009-2010 ... Read More

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 ... Read More

Southern Illinois district court to handle Yaz lawsuits

The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation in Washington D.C. has chosen the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Illinois in East St. Louis to handle multidistrict litigation for what could be as many as 25,000 Yaz lawsuits. Chief Judge David Herndon will preside over the pre-trial proceedings, which have been filed by plaintiffs in all parts of the country against Bayer, the manufacturer of the popular oral contraceptive. Yaz incorporates a unique progestin, drospirenone, with ethinyl estradiol, a more common ingredient used in birth control drugs. Many women who have been injured after starting a Yaz regimen allege ... Read More

Toyota will make brake override system standard in all US vehicles

Toyota Motor Corp. will install a new brake override system in all of its newly built vehicle models in North America by the end of 2010, said the company’s highest ranking U.S. Executive Yoshimi Inaba. The new braking system (sometimes called a “smart pedal” or “smart throttle”) will be commanded by software that shifts the engine to idle when it detects the driver is attempting to brake while the vehicle is accelerating. The brake override will work when the vehicle is traveling at a moderate or high speed and the driver applies the brake and accelerator pedals simultaneously. The software then ... Read More

Chinese manufacturers substitute toxic cadmium for lead

Earlier this month, the Associated Press exposed yet another disturbing Chinese trade secret when it reported that some manufacturers in China are making children’s jewelry with the highly toxic metal cadmium. Children’s jewelry now joins the growing list of dangerous and sometimes deadly products pouring into the United States from China – a list that includes toys covered with lead paint, pet food and baby formula tainted with melamine, sulfuric drywall that has ruined thousands of homes, and other poorly made or defective merchandise. Evidence suggests that Chinese manufacturers are turning to cadmium as a substitute for lead, which the ... Read More

Wal-Mart, CPSC act to foil use of cadmium in children’s products

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., the world’s largest retailer, is pulling items of children’s jewelry known or suspected to be manufactured with high levels of toxic cadmium from store shelves. The move follows an Associated Press investigation published earlier this week which found some China-based manufacturers were creating children’s jewelry with varying amounts of cadmium — a heavy medal considered by the federal government to be one of the most toxic substances on earth. Cadmium is a soft metal that occurs naturally in soil. Exposure to concentrated quantities of it, however, can have debilitating effects on humans. The metal is known to cause cancer ... Read More

Toyota says it mishandled unintended acceleration problem

Yoshi Inaba, Toyota’s highest ranking executive in the United States, says that his company’s latest recall of millions of vehicles has taught Toyota some valuable lessons. Speaking to an audience gathered at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit, Inaba seemed eager to hit the re-set button with the American public through admission of Toyota’s past errors. Last September, Toyota and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of millions of Lexus and Toyota vehicles that have the potential to accelerate suddenly and unintentionally. After nearly two years of denying reports of unintended acceleration problems, Toyota finally issued a recall ... Read More