WASHINGTON – Toyota Motor Corp. said Thursday it will recall about 1.13 million Corolla and Matrix vehicles because of an engine defect that federal regulators said could cause cars to stall “at any speed without warning.”
Toyota said in a statement it will recall the vehicles for the model years 2005 to 2008 in the United States and Canada following at least three reported accidents due to the defect.
The action adds to record recalls in the past year by Toyota, including more than 8 million vehicles worldwide for flaws tied to unintended acceleration.
“Toyota concluded that this problem would likely continue to occur, and, therefore, in order to address customer concerns, decided to conduct a voluntary safety recall of all vehicles within the affected range,” Chris Santucci, Toyota Motor North America’s manager of technical and regulatory affairs, wrote in a letter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
John Hanson, a spokesman at Toyota’s U.S. sales unit in Torrance, Calif., said he doesn’t know what the recall will cost the company. The recall includes about 162,000 of General Motors’ Pontiac Vibe hatchbacks, which were manufactured in a joint venture with Toyota in California.
“Our goal is to help ensure that Toyota drivers are completely confident in the safety and reliability of their vehicles,” Steve St. Angelo, Toyota’s chief qualify officer for North America, said in the statement.
Toyota said in the statement that there were three unconfirmed accidents alleged to be related to this condition, one of which reported a minor injury.
NHTSA on Aug. 18 upgraded its investigation of the defect to an engineering analysis, a step that can lead the agency to demand a recall. The auto-safety regulator said cracks in engine control units could occur if improperly cured coating was applied to circuit boards.
Olivia Alair, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Department, which includes NHTSA, declined comment on Thursday’s recall.
The auto-safety regulator has received 163 complaints, including six crashes, about engines stalling in the cars and began investigating in November.
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