Toyota Prius in the meantime is also facing a recall. The World’s leading hybrid is reported to have a problem with its brakes. The Japanese Government confirmed this week five new accidents related to Prius’ brake problems. According to Tokyo Shimbun and Fuji Television network unconfirmed reports indicate that the Transport Ministry has received around 80 complaints while Toyota has received over 100 complaints separately since the crisis began. Toyota has not announced a recall on Prius yet, but they launched investigations into possible brake problems in two other hybrids, including the luxury Lexus.
So, what is the real issue?
According to Toyota:
The first recall, “Floor Mat Entrapment,” regards the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat to interfere with the accelerator pedal and cause it to get stuck in the wide-open position.
The second recall, “Pedal,” is being conducted because there is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.
What are the models that are likely face this issue?
Currently, Toyota is recalling these models in the US due to the sticky pedal issue:
• Certain 2009-2010 RAV4
• Certain 2009-2010 Corolla
• 2009-2010 Matrix
• 2005-2010 Avalon
• Certain 2007-2010 Camry
• Certain 2010 Highlander
• 2007-2010 Tundra
• 2008-2010 Sequoia
However, Camry, RAV4, Corolla and Highlander vehicles with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN) that begin with “J” are not affected by the accelerator pedal recall.
What is Toyota doing to address the situation?
They are sending letters to the current owners to schedule an appointment with their dealer.
The dealerships have extended their hours – some working 24x7 – to fix this issue as quickly as possible.
Toyota has halted production of the listed models this week until the cars on the road are fixed.
They have mobilised their entire workforce of 172,000 employees in North America in their effort to maximise quality.
As part of the recall campaign, new car sales of vehicles subject to the pedal recall have been temporarily suspended until the problem is remedied.
How dangerous is this problem?
Should we be very, very, scared? Nope, I don’t think so. There are reports of people losing lives due to runaway Toyota’s, which, is a serious issue. But however, one of the main reasons for the sticky pedal has been identified as wear and tear – so most new car owners have the chance to replace the part at the nearest dealership before anything could ever happen.
How does it affect Toyota owners in Sri Lanka?
Well, so far, the faulty accelerator unit is only found in the Toyota’s assembled in North America, even though there is a chance that some European plants may have received the same parts in their assembly lines.
The cars that come from Asia are said to be safe, but, however, there are unconfirmed reports of certain Asian models having issues in the UK. Toyota Prius is having issues in Japan, but then, we don’t have any hybrids in Sri Lanka either.
Since most of the models identified are not available in Sri Lanka, and since the Corolla’s and RAV4’s come here are of Asian origin, there is very little chance that Toyota’s in Sri Lanka are affected by this issue.
In case, if my Toyota decides to run away, what should I do?
Follow the Toyota way, found here. Some US dealerships are advising Toyota owners to practice this procedure in empty parking lots, just in case.
UPDATE: 8th Feb
Saudi Arabia’s Consumer Protection Association (CPA) on Sunday (yesterday) urged authorities to force Japanese carmaker Toyota’s local agent Abdul Latif Jameel Co (ALJ) to recall and check for defaults in cars it sold locally.
An official at ALJ said the company would invite within two weeks owners of Toyota Sequoia and Avalon models – both of which are produced in the United States – to get their cars checked.
CPA’s call, made in a statement sent to media, is the first by a consumer protection group in the Gulf Arab region – where Saudi Arabia is the biggest auto market – after Toyota recalled some 8 million cars worldwide on safety glitches.
However, Toyota's distributor in the United Arab Emirates, Al-Futtaim Motors, said the two models would be recalled in the Gulf country in a service campaign similar to the one in the United States.