Toyota Recalls 4 Million Vehicles to Fix Gas Pedal

Wednesday Toyota Motor Corp. said, it would fix the gas pedal on four million vehicles in the U.S. that the Japanese auto maker recalled in September over sudden acceleration issues related to floor mats causing the pedal to get stuck.

The remedy, which covers eight models of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, is expected to get under way in early 2010, the National Highway Transportation and Safety Department said.

The auto maker plans to change the shape of the gas pedal, alter the floor pan under the pedal in some cases, and install a brake override system in the affected Toyota Camry and Avalon models and the Lexus ES 350, IS 350 and IS 250 models as an "extra measure of confidence." On Tuesday, Toyota already announced a recall of 110,000 Tundra pickups over a corrosion issue.

The recalls dent Toyota's reputation of leading in safety and come as the company is in the midst of turnaround efforts after posting its first annual net loss in 59 years in the previous fiscal year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

It was also reported, Irv Miller, group vice president of environmental and public affairs for Toyota, said in a teleconference that the changes will apply to at least 4 million vehicles.

In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday this "vehicle-based remedy" was intended "to fix a sudden acceleration safety issue involving floor mats trapping accelerator pedals in various Toyota and Lexus models."

Drivers of the vehicles should remove the floor mats until they can have their vehicles reconfigured by Toyota, according to Miller. He also said that the distance between the gas pedal and the floor plan was the problem, and that there was no electronic issue with the vehicles.

Miller declined to say how much this reconfiguration will cost Toyota, reports.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-built Camry is the market’s best-selling passenger car, and the Prius is the world’s most popular hybrid-electric model based on sales volume. Toyota’s U.S. sales unit is based in Torrance, California.

The company is “grasping for salvation” as it predicts a second straight annual loss, President Akio Toyoda said last month.

“We have to listen to our customers and make better cars,” Toyoda said in a speech to journalists in Tokyo Oct. 2. The grandson of Toyota’s founder became president this year, Bloomberg reports.

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