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Latest From Toyota on Accelerator Pedals and Prius Braking

Fri, 05 Feb 2010

The following Q&A details the key facts concerning the safety recall of Toyota vehicles and Toyota’s official comment on reports concerning braking issues with Prius. 

Further information will be provided by the Toyota GB Press Office as and when it becomes available.

Toyota advises customers who have any concerns to contact Toyota GB Customer Relations on 0800 1388 744 for assistance.

ACCELERATOR PEDAL SAFETY RECALL

1. What exactly is the problem?

There is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position.

2. What is the cause?

Some accelerator pedal mechanisms may become worn. As a result of this wear combined with certain operating and environmental conditions, friction in the mechanism may increase and intermittently result in the accelerator pedal being hard to depress, slow to return or, in the worst case, stick in a partially open position.

3. Are there any warnings that this condition exists?

In some cases, the driver may notice that the accelerator pedal is harder to depress or is slow to return.

In some cases, the driver may notice a rough or chattering feeling when depressing/ releasing the accelerator pedal.

4. Have there been any accidents reported as a result of this problem in Europe?

Toyota has had no reports of any accidents caused by this issue in Europe.
5. What is the likelihood of a Toyota vehicle being affected by this condition?
The problem that has been identified is rare and does not occur suddenly.

6. What is Toyota doing to address the issue in the UK?

On 1 February 2010 Toyota confirmed a comprehensive fix for the accelerator pedals of the Toyota models planned for recall in Europe (seven in the UK, detailed in 10 below). Toyota’s engineers have developed and rigorously tested a solution that involves reinforcing the pedal assembly to eliminate the potential risk of excess friction that could, in rare instances, cause the pedal to stick.

Priority in the recall will be given to the older vehicles among those affected. This reflects the fact that the problem identified is caused by wear, and is thus more likely to occur in cars that have been on the road for longer. Priority will also be given to those vehicles that have been the subject of specific customer complaints, although these are very few in number.

Technical illustrations detailing the parts concerned are provided below.

7. When will recall work begin?
Toyota expects the recall work to start immediately after the arrival of the required parts in the UK on Wednesday, 10 February.

8. How and when will Toyota be contacting affected UK customers?

Toyota has confirmed exactly which UK models will be the subject of its safety recall. (see 10 below) and is now receiving the registration details and the contact details of the owners or registered keepers of these vehicles from the DVLA.

Using this information, Toyota is immediately contacting the owners/keepers to inform them that their vehicle is among those covered by the recall and that it will need to be taken to a Toyota service centre for attention. The letter explains the issue and the signs drivers should look out for that might indicate their car has a problem. It also provides details of what to do in the event of problem arising, and where to find further advice and assistance.

Toyota will take all reasonable action to contact the owners or registered keepers of the vehicles affected. This conforms to the terms of the VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) code of practice that applies to vehicle recalls in the UK.

A second letter will be sent to all owners/keepers inviting them to contact their chosen Toyota service centre to book a date and time for their car to be attended to.

To support this activity, Toyota has set up additional website and telephone helpline services to provide information about the recall process and advice to owners.

Toyota advises customers who have concerns to contact Toyota GB Customer Relations on 0800 1388 744 for assistance.

Toyota has also launched a dedicated recall information page on the Toyota website and this will be updated with the latest information http://www.toyota.co.uk/recall/

9. Who will be responsible for carrying out the recall work in the UK?

This work will be done by qualified technicians at 206 Toyota-approved service centres across the UK.

All technicians will be given specific training in the work that needs to be done.

The work will be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible, to minimise inconvenience to the customer. The recall work should take about 30 minutes to complete. There is no cost to the customer and the vehicle’s warranty will not be affected.

10. How many and which vehicles are affected by the recall in the UK?

Toyota can confirm 180,865 vehicles are affected by the recall, representing certain versions of seven of its model ranges, as detailed below, 

Model Name

Production Period

Aygo (not versions with manual gearbox)

Feb 2005 – Aug 2009

iQ

Nov 2008 – Nov 2009

Yaris

Nov 2005 – Sep 2009

Auris

Oct 2006 – 5 Jan 2010

Corolla

Oct 2006 – Dec 2009

Verso

Feb 2009 – 5 Jan 2010

Avensis

Nov 2008 – Dec 2009

11. Are any other UK Toyota or Lexus vehicles involved?

No Lexus models and no other Toyota models - cars or light commercial vehicles - are involved in the UK.

Further to earlier details of the models affected across Europe, in the UK Aygo cars fitted with manual transmission and all versions of the RAV4 sports utility vehicle are not involved.

12. How many vehicles are affected by this issue in Europe?

The precise number of units that will be recalled Europe-wide is still to be determined, but could be as many as 1.8 million vehicles. This area extends beyond the European Union.

13. Does the issue affect both petrol and diesel vehicles?

Yes, both petrol and diesel vehicles are involved.

14. When did Toyota become aware of safety issues with the accelerator pedal in its vehicles the UK?

Toyota first became aware of incidents of the accelerator pedal sticking, associated with safety concerns, in November 2009.

In the UK 20 reported incidents were identified.

Toyota Europe (TME) moved quickly to mount a thorough investigation and initiate a recall.

15. Why was a vehicle safety recall issued in the USA before the UK?

Toyota became aware of the first, isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedals in North America in late October 2009. Following a thorough investigation, Toyota announced on 21 January 2010 that it would recall specific vehicles in North America to correct sticking accelerator pedals.

Data from North America assisted Toyota with its investigation into whether and how this issue might affect its models in Europe.

Subsequent to this investigation, Toyota announced on 28 January 2010 that it would implement a recall of eight Toyota models in Europe.

On 1 February 2010 Toyota USA (TMS) announced a comprehensive plan to amend accelerator pedals to prevent the risk of sticking on recalled vehicles and ensure customer safety.

On the same date, Toyota confirmed the same recall work for the accelerator pedals of the eight Toyota models planned for recall in Europe (seven in the UK).

Toyota has had no reports of any accidents in Europe caused by this issue.

16. Has Toyota already made changes that prevent the problem occurring in the vehicles it is building now?

Yes, a running change in production has been implemented model by model starting from August 2009.

17. Does this mean that Toyota knew there was a problem? If so, why has it waited so long to instigate a recall?

The change introduced in August 2009 was a quality refinement.
The change was made after Toyota became aware of rare cases where the accelerator pedal did not return to its idle position as swiftly as it ideally should. While these few cases did not represent any risk or safety concern, Nevertheless, Toyota altered the accelerator pedal design within the context of a running production change with the intention of improving the quality of the product delivered to the customer.
However, since the implementation of this change, Toyota became aware of new, different, but related cases of the pedal sticking. This led to further investigations and as a consequence, a safety recall has been implemented.

18. How many accelerator problem reports did Toyota received in Europe before the running change in production?

Toyota has identified 26 reports potentially linked to this issue in Europe, which represents a tiny proportion of the several million Toyota vehicles sold and on the road in Europe.

20. In North America Toyota has stopped production of the vehicles affected. Is it taking the same action taken in Europe?

No, starting from August 2009, a running change in production (see 18 above) has been implemented model-by-model. Vehicles now in production are thus not affected by the issue.

21. Has Toyota stopped selling certain models in the UK?

No. The full Toyota model range remains on sale across the UK. With safety as its prime concern, Toyota will implement the recall work to any affected cars in stock before delivery.

22. What should UK drivers do if their vehicle is among those named in this campaign, but they have not experienced the condition?

Toyota advises customers who have any concerns to contact Toyota GB Customer   Relations on 0800 1388 744 for assistance.

23. If UK Toyota drivers notice that the accelerator pedal is hard to depress, slow to return or is unsmooth during operation, what should they do?

In the rare event of such conditions being noticed, drivers should contact their nearest Toyota Centre (dealership). Further assistance can be obtained from Toyota GB Customer Relations (see 22 above). 

24. Is this problem the fault of the company which supplied the accelerator pedal components?

Toyota takes responsibility for the quality of its vehicles.

25. Does this recall in Europe have anything to do with the floor mat recall in the USA?

No, the floor mat recall concerns the USA only.

However, Toyota does not advise customers to use third-party aftermarket floor mats in their vehicles. Unsecured mats can cause problems by interfering with pedals in the driver’s footwell of any car from any manufacturer. Our advice is to only ever use genuine, manufacturer-supplied mats, correctly secured.

TOYOTA COMMENT ON REPORTED PRIUS BRAKING ISSUE

Toyota dealers in North America and Japan have notified Toyota that they
have received complaints related to brakes in the current, third generation Prius. There have been no reports of any accidents or injuries related to this issue.

Customers have reported that under certain braking conditions, such as when hitting a bump, pothole or driving on a low-grip surface, they notice a change in the brake feel (the sensation transmitted to the driver during a braking action).

This change in brake feel is due to the specific set-up of the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). Prius’s braking ability is not compromised and Toyota does not believe this is a safety issue.

However, to deal with the customer comments about the change in brake feel, an update in the software in the brake control system was made on Prius production from late January 2010. This change was made to give the driver a more consistent feel when applying the brakes.

 

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