November, 2009 browsing by month



Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Toyota Motor Corp. said Wednesday it will take precautions and replace accelerator pedals on about 4 million recalled vehicles in the United States because the pedals could get stuck in the floor mats.

As a temporary step, Toyota will have dealers shorten the length of the gas pedals beginning in January while the company develops replacement pedals for their vehicles, the Transportation Department and Toyota said. New pedals will be available beginning in April, and some vehicles will have brake override systems installed as a precaution.”The safety of our owners and the public is our utmost concern and Toyota has and will continue to thoroughly investigate and take appropriate measures to address any defect trends that are identified,” Toyota said in a statement.

The recall includes 3.8 million vehicles, including the 2007-10 model year Camry, 2005-10 Toyota Avalon, 2004-09 Prius, 2005-10 Toyota Tacoma, 2007-10 Toyota Tundra, 2007-10 Lexus ES350 and 2006-10 Lexus IS250/350. Toyota officials said about 4 million vehicles would be covered, including new cars and trucks sold since September and others manufactured since the recall was announced.

Toyota spokesman Irv Miller said company investigators found pedal entrapment to be the major issue and the company is “very, very confident that we have addressed this issue.” Miller said Toyota has found “no reason to believe that there is a problem with the electronic control systems.”

The recall involving the accelerators was Toyota’s largest in the U.S. It was prompted by a high-speed crash in August involving a 2009 Lexus ES350 that killed a California Highway Patrol officer and three members of his family near San Diego. The Lexus hit speeds exceeding 120 mph, struck a sport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled several times and burst into flames.

Investigators with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that an aftermarket rubber all-weather floor mat found in the wreckage was slightly longer than the mat that belonged in the vehicle, and could have snared or covered the accelerator pedal. It is also very probable that the driver was unfamiliar with the start/stop button technology and did not know how to shut the engine off.

In Japan, Toyota President Akio Toyoda called the fatal crash “extremely regrettable” and offered his “deepest condolences” to the California family.

To fix the problem, Toyota and the government said dealers will shorten the length of the accelerator pedal on the recalled vehicles and in some cases remove foam from beneath the carpeting near the pedal to increase the space between the pedal and the floor. They said owners of the ES350, Camry and Avalon would be the first to receive notification because the vehicles are believed to have the highest risk for pedal entrapment.

Toyota plans to install a brake override system on the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES350, IS350 and IS250 models as an “extra measure of confidence,” Toyota and NHTSA said. The brake override system, commonly called a “smart brake,” will ensure the vehicle will stop if both the brake and the accelerator pedals are applied simultaneously.

Toyota also plans to make the brake override system standard equipment throughout the Toyota and Lexus lineup starting with January 2010 production of the ES350 and Camry. Most new models will get the equipment by the end of 2010.

Dealers will be instructed on how to modify the pedals before the end of the year and will begin shortening the accelerators in 2010. New replacement pedals are expected to be available for some models beginning in April and will be provided even if the vehicles have already received a modified pedal under the recall.

If a vehicle accelerator pedal becomes stuck and a driver can’t dislodge it, Toyota advises drivers to press on the brake with both feet and then shift the vehicle into neutral, which will disengage the transmission. The automaker says drivers should continue braking until the vehicle comes to a stop.

A driver can also try shutting off the engine or turning the key to the “ACC” position on the ignition. Drivers will not lose control of the steering or the brakes. But once the vehicle is turned off the driver won’t have the benefit of power brakes or power steering. For vehicles that have a start/stop button for the engine, drivers are advised to hold the button for three seconds to turn it off.

For more information, owners can contact Toyota at 800-331-4331 or the NHTSA hot line at 888-327-4236.


2010 IIHS Top Safety Pick Awards,Just Part Of A Story That Smells

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009
On November 18, 2009, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) issued a news release headlined: “27 Winners of 2010 Top Safety Pick Award.” Within the release, IIHS states: “Missing the mark: Not a single model from the world’s biggest automaker by sales is represented among this year’s winners. Toyota and its Lexus and Scion subsidiaries had a strong showing in 2009 with 11 winners but were shut out for 2010.” How can this be?
Well, This is the first year IIHS has included its own roof strength tests, which exceed federal standards, for TSP consideration. All Toyota vehicles meet or exceed Federal Safety Standards for frontal and side impact, roof crush resistance and rollover protection. Yet for IIHS’ roof tests only three Toyota vehicles out of 38 Toyota, Lexus and Scion models were tested.
Toyota is confident its vehicles are among the safest on the road today and is committed to the highest levels of vehicle safety and quality.
In 2009, Toyota won more IIHS Top Safety Pick (TSP) awards than any other manufacturer. Toyota continues to improve vehicle passive and active safety, including improvement of past winners of IIHS TSP.
IIHS’ statement that Toyota was shut out for 2010 is extreme, disturbing, and very misleading! There are 38 Toyota, Lexus and Scion models, and yet, IIHS only tested three for roof strength: Camry, RAV4 and Yaris… I have to say it, with all the domestic bailouts and government control agendas in Washington presently this really smells…
While passive collision protection is very important, Toyota also provides an array of active, passive, pre-collision and collision avoidance features. The “Star Safety System” is standard equipment on all Toyota and Lexus models.
This article writer owns a number of Toyota vehicles mostly older and they are the most reliable trouble free automobiles I’ve owned. Also, recently while a passenger in a new Toyota I experienced a head-on collision caused by another motorist. The accident impact occurred at 50 M.P.H and the Toyota saved my life. All of the standard engineered safety features, The Star Safety System, Frame Tailored Blanks, and Crumple Zones went into action as designed preventing the damage impact from penetrating the cabin area; If only all victims  of this type of accident could be inside a Toyota….
The Insurance Institute’s ratings are just one of many vehicle safety and quality metrics. They do not parallel this writer’s personal experiences.


Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Here is an Up-Date Video issued On November 2, 2009 Explaining where Toyota is on Floor Mat Recall Issues. Topics Covered in the Video For Owners and Buyers Include:camry grille

  • An Interim Owner Mailing. 
  • Actions to Develop a Preventive Remedy.
  • NHTSA’s Recent Denial of an Unintended Acceleration Petition.
  • Toyota’s Determination that no Defect Exists if Floor Mats are Properly
  • A Recap of Exhaustive NHTSA Testing Which Has Not Found Any Other
    Cause Beyond Pedal Interference.
  • The Video Includes Demonstrations of Proper and Improper Usage of Floor Mats.
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