Hundreds of published reports yesterday claimed Toyota had already issued a recall to address the possibility of accelerator pedals getting jammed under factory floor mats, but the company fired back in an e-mail this morning stating yesterday's notice was nothing more than a safety advisory.
"Despite widespread reporting to the contrary, this is not yet a recall," wrote Toyota northeast PR manager Wade Hoyt. Hoyt said to the Globe this morning that "it wouldn't be a recall until we've worked out a fix that NHTSA approves."
Hoyt said it is likely a recall will be issued, but could not confirm a date or exactly how many cars would be included.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report yesterday warning that improperly positioned floor mats on certain Toyota models could cause the gas pedal to become stuck in full throttle.
The agency recommended that these owners "immediately" remove the driver's side factory floor mat as an "interim safety measure." All told, the agency has received 102 incident reports from owners "in which the accelerator may have become stuck," according to the Associated Press.
"Until Toyota can implement a remedy, it is asking consumers and associates who drive specific Toyota and Lexus models to take out any removable driverís floor mat and NOT replace it with any other floor mat," Toyota said yesterday.
About 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus models are affected, including the 2007-2010 Camry, 2005-2010 Avalon, 2004-2009 Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma, 2007-2010 Tundra, 2007-2010 ES 350, and the 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350.
Toyota engineers are currently working on a fix "besides the retaining hooks" that secure the mats to the floor, Hoyt said. Part of the problem, Hoyt said, is that owners may remove the mats for cleaning and put them back unsecured, or place rubber winter mats, which are much thicker than carpeted mats, on top of the standard ones.
According to the NHTSA, Toyota issued a recall for similar accelerator concerns in September 2007 for rubber "all-weather" floor mats it sold as accessories for 2007 and 2008 Lexus ES 350 and Toyota Camry models.
A fatal crash last month in San Diego in which a 2009 ES 350 was speeding out of control at more than 100 mph may have been due to a stuck accelerator, officials say, but the crash remains under investigation.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
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|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
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|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
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|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
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