On February 1, 2010, Toyota' President and CEO, Jim Lentz, accounced the company has developed a plan for fixing sticky gas pedals afflicting millions of recalled Toyotas. Mr. Lentz said "we know what' causing the sticking accelerator problems, and we know what we have to do to fix it." The "fix" reportedly requires reinforcing the pedal assembly in a manner that eliminates excess friction which causes the accelerator to stick. It is unclear how long it will take to fix all 2.3 million cars affected by the defective gas pedal. New parts are already being shipped to Toyota dealers in Chicago and throughout the country.
The recall in the U.S. involves the following Toyota vehicles: 2009-2010 RAV4 crossover, Corolla and Matrix hatchback, 2005-2010 Avolon, certain 2007-2010 Camrys, 2010 Highlander crossover, 2007-2010 Tundra pickup, and 2008-2010 Sequoia SUV. The recall also includes models in Europe and China.
Toyota' sticky gas pedal problem is different from the recall involving its floor mats that also led to unintended acceleration. In November 2009, Toyota began fixing problems with its floor mats in some vehicles in which the gas pedal could get caught on the edge of the removable floor mat. The floor mat recall was recently expanded to include a total of 5.3 million vehicles. Lentz told NBC' Matt Lauer that Toyota is confident the floor mat and sticky gas pedal fixes will solve all problems involving unintended acceleration. Lentz, however, did not directly answer when Toyota first became aware of problems involving unintended acceleration.
According to the Safety Research & Strategies, Inc., Toyota' unintended acceleration problems have resulted in 2,262 reported incidents, 815 crashes, 341 personal injuries, and 19 fatalities. These figures are based on incidents from consumer complaints to the NHTSA, Toyota submitted claims from several NHTSA investigations, incident reports from media sources, and consumer contacts made to the SRS between 1999 to the present. Some have alleged Toyota continued to sell affected vehicles despite knowing its vehicles possessed a risk of unintended acceleration. The question of what did Toyota know, and when did they know it, will be an issue hotly litigated between personal injury lawyers representing injured victims and lawyers for Toyota. Toyota did not announce a halt in the production of vehicles at their North American plant until last week.