Million more cars join pedal-linked recall

Kyodo

The U.S. sales arm of Toyota Motor Corp. says it will repair an additional 1.09 million vehicles to reduce the risk of gas pedals getting stuck, including being lodged under loose floor mats, and causing sudden acceleration.

The move will expand what is already Toyota’s largest U.S. recall to 5.35 million vehicles, the latest in a string of safety issues that have badly eroded the auto giant’s long-held reputation for top quality.

The additional models subject to the recall are the 2008-2010 Highlander, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Venza, 2009-2010 Matrix and the 2009-2010 Pontiac Vibe, a compact produced at a former joint venture plant with General Motors Corp. in California.

The expansion, announced Wednesday, came a day after Toyota said it will suspend sales of eight models, including its popular Camry and Corolla models, involved in a separate U.S. recall of around 2.3 million vehicles to fix potentially defective accelerator pedals.

Toyota will also suspend sales of the eight models in Canada in a move that will involve about 270,000 vehicles.

U.S. Transport Secretary Ray LaHood on Wednesday told Chicago’s WGN Radio that it was the regulators who had urged Toyota to suspend sales of the eight models.

Also on Wednesday, CTS Corp., the U.S. pedal supplier to Toyota, said it has developed a newly designed pedal that has been tested and shipped to some Toyota factories.

For the floor mat problem, Toyota maintains its position that the gas pedal’s shape is not a “defect” and will consider the repair as a voluntary step.

The automaker has already announced remedies, including reshaping pedals and providing newly designed floor mats both for the driver’s and front passenger’s seats to prevent the risk of unsecured or improperly fitted mats slipping forward and jamming the pedals, causing sudden acceleration.

China, Europe recalls

Kyodo News

, STAFF REPORT Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will recall about 750,000 RAV4 sport utility vehicles in China and an as yet-unspecified number of autos in Europe over gas pedal problems.

Such cars have the same accelerator pedal defect as in the U.S., the company said.

“We are currently scrutinizing the number of the models and units” in Europe, Toyota spokesman Takanori Yokoi said.