Toyota’s Lentz: We Will Work Day/Night with Dealers to Fix Recalled Vehicles
TORRANCE, Calif. — In a statement Monday, Toyota said it is now shipping parts to dealers to reinforce pedals and that dealer training is underway.
To fix the eight affected models as quickly as possible, many dealers will work extended hours, with some even staying open 24 hours a day, the automaker said.
Automaker officials are describing the fix as a "rigorously tested solution that involves reinforcing the pedal assembly in a manner that eliminates excess friction that has caused the pedals to stick in rare instances."
Officials went on to point out that they have also developed a solution for the vehicles in production. However, the eight models at issue will not be produced this week.
"We know what's causing the sticking accelerator pedals, and we know what we have to do to fix it. We also know it is most important to fix this problem in the cars on the road," said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota.
"We are focused on making this recall as simple and trouble-free as possible, and will work day and night with our dealers to fix recalled vehicles quickly. We want to demonstrate that our commitment to safety is high as ever and that our commitment to our customers is unwavering," he continued.
The issue causing the potential problem involves a friction device that is designed to provide the proper "feel" by adding resistance and making the pedal steady and stable, executives said.
Basically, the device includes a shoe that rubs against an adjoining surface during normal pedal operation. Due to the materials used, wear and environment conditions, these surfaces could, over time, begin to stick and release instead of operating smoothly, they continued.
To solve this potential problem, Toyota officials said a precision-cut steel reinforcement bar will be installed into the assembly that will reduce the surface tension between the friction shoe and the adjoining surface.
"With this reinforcement in place, the excess friction that can cause the pedal to stick is eliminated," executives stated. "The company has confirmed the effectiveness of the newly reinforced pedals through rigorous testing on pedal assemblies that had previously shown a tendency to stick."
The models to be fixed include:
—Certain 2009-2010 RAV4
—Certain 2009-2010 Corolla
—Certain 2007-2010 Camry
—Certain 2010 Highlander
—Camry, RAV4, Corolla and Highlander vehicles with VIN numbers that begin with a "J" are not subject to the recall.
"Nothing is more important to us that the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive," explained Lentz.
"We deeply regret the concern that our recalls have caused for our customers, and we are doing everything we can — as fast as we can — to make things right. Stopping production is never an easy decision, but we are 100 percent confident it was the right decision," he added.