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Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 02/24/2011

Toyota recalls 2.1 million vehicles in U.S.

By Peter Whoriskey

Toyota announced Thursday morning that it is recalling another 2.1 million vehicles in the United States for problems related to unintended acceleration. The latest recall is a massive setback for the company's efforts to move beyond the highly publicized safety defects that prompted Congressional hearings and led to staggered sales.

The concern over Toyota's quality had seemed to be receding. Last month, U.S. investigators ruled out defects in Toyota's engine electronics as a cause of the sticking accelerators.

But the announcement on Thursday revives the old questions about the autos' safety. Another 2.1 million cars are being recalled because unsecured or ill-fitting floor mats could entrap the accelerator, causing the car to speed without the driver pushing the pedal.

Among the cars being recalled are:

  • Approximately 603,000 2003 through 2009 4Runners
  • Approximately 17,000 2008 through 2011 Lexus LX 570 autos
  • Approximately 761,000 2006 through 2010 RAV4 vehicles
  • Approximately 372,000 2004 through 2006 and early 2007 RX 330, RX 350 and RX 400h vehicles
  • Approximately 397,000 2004 through 2006 Highlander and Highlander HV vehicles
  • Approximately 20,000 2006 and early 2007 Model Year GS 300 and GS 350 All-Wheel Drive vehicles

The automaker has now recalled more than 14 million vehicles globally. The safety fears erupted in 2009 after a high-speed crash near San Diego killed a California highway patrol officer and three family members.

It wasn't until the family's fraught 911 call seconds before the crash was released that the company and federal regulators seemed to give more credence to consumer complaints.

Toyota and federal regulators have pledged to respond more quickly to complaints about the vehicles' safety.

By Peter Whoriskey  | February 24, 2011; 10:13 AM ET
Categories:  Auto industry, Toyota  
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Comments

Can we just get rid of these stupid "start" buttons and go back to metal keys? Eliminates all the problems. Car won't stop accelerating? Turn it off. The problem here is that Toyota didn't want people accidentally turning off the car while traveling at high speeds, so hitting the "start / stop" button while the car is moving doens't turn the engine off. It is not worth creating a safety risk just so the company can claim that its car is "cooler" and "more modern" because it doesn't use a key. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Posted by: taxguru | February 24, 2011 11:20 AM | Report abuse

No - people need to learn that if you car accelerates out of control put it in neutral. Its what they teach in drivers Ed - not sure why people haven't realized this.

Posted by: nfr201 | February 24, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should stop shipment of all Toyota's into the US until we're happy that the problems are all resolved. The Japanese have done this with our beef, fruit and other products. It seems fair and appropriate.

Posted by: richard36 | February 24, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Maybe we should stop shipment of all Toyota's into the US until we're happy that the problems are all resolved. The Japanese have done this with our beef, fruit and other products. It seems fair and appropriate.

Posted by: richard36 | February 24, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Here we go again with the Toyota recalls. I used to be a Toyota buyer but never again. My truck frame is rusting out and they won't do anything about it. Who in their right mind would would buy a new Toyota or that overpriced Lexus POS.

Posted by: Classic60 | February 24, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing that any article on this topic does not include the proper procedure: PUT THE CAR IN NEUTRAL AND BRAKE!!!

Every single one of the reported lives lost could have been easily saved if this message gets across. But still this article does not even mention PUTTING THE CAR IN NEUTRAL.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It is amazing that any article on this topic does not include the proper procedure: PUT THE CAR IN NEUTRAL AND BRAKE!!!

Every single one of the reported lives lost could have been easily saved if this message gets across. But still this article does not even mention PUTTING THE CAR IN NEUTRAL.

Posted by: Anonymous
--------------------------
Sure that would be the thing to do but if you are driving at a high rate of speed and that piece of junk Toyota gas pedal gets stuck you are probably so scared that PUTTING THE CAR IN NEUTRAL does not come to mind. Toyota = POS

Posted by: Classic60 | February 24, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous and Classic60-

There are those who have had unintended acceleration who have indeed put the car into neutral, who have stomped on the breaks and have not been able to stop their cars- before you make comments- make sure you have all the facts- and that's probably why Anonymous stays Anonymous.....

Posted by: Anonymous | February 24, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Oops sorry- I foprget to sign in: poppysue85

Posted by: poppysue85 | February 24, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

The investigators did not rule out electronic defects. They just failed to find any evidence for them. The failure of the media to understand the difference between these two statements illustrates the fallacy of the concept of critical thinking or at least that it is lacking in the media. A good assumption is that the Toyota problems have multiple causes. A very good assumption is that any electronic defect happens at very low frequency and is very difficult to identify. The chance that outside investigators could find it even if it does exist was always very low. The only way to provide strong evidence that it does not exist is to have a convincing purely mechanical explanation for every one of the control problems Toyota vehicles have experienced. The federal investigators have neither. So all they did was fail. That failure should not be a surprise because their task was pretty much impossible to begin with. Perhaps the team that is looking at the design of Toyota's electronics will provide some more substantial results.

Posted by: dnjake | February 24, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I learned in the driver's ed course at driversedonline.com that if your gas pedal is stuck down, you should do the following:

1) Shift to neutral; 2) Apply the brakes; 3) Keep your eyes on the road to look for a way out; 4) Warn other drivers by blinking and flashing your emergency lights; 5) Try to drive the car safely off the road; 6) Turn off your ignition when you no longer need to change direction and are stopped; 7) Keep your emergency flashers on.

Turning the ignition switch completely off while moving is never the correct response to an emergency situation. It may lock the steering wheel and you will be unable to steer the vehicle. DriversEdOnline is a DMV-accepted course, so I know this information is correct. I hope this helps Toyota drivers!

Posted by: lwcomment | February 25, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

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