Toyota Recalls 4 Million Vehicles for Sticking Gas Pedals — NYTimes.com

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Toyota Will Fix or Replace 4 Gas Pedals

Times Topics: Motor Corporation

The announcement was setback for Toyota, which last year appeared all but Its disciplined business approach, profits and reputation for quality it take market share troubled competitors, and win from Motors the title of world’s automaker.

But the global downturn has Toyota, along with car companies. And Toyota, which has other recalls in recent risks losing its standing in the of many consumers as the benchmark for

Three weeks ago, the said it would recall driver-side floor mats, it said could get stuck on the and cause an accident.

Since federal regulators have Toyota to do more to insure the of several models, including the three Lexus sedans and its hybrid.

Safety experts said the recall could do more to Toyota’s reputation, much as and Firestone suffered from problems earlier this with the Ford Explorer.

Toyota has its back up against the like it never has before,” Sean Kane of Safety and Strategies, a consulting firm in Mass.

The National Highway Safety Administration started the issue of jammed gas pedals a high-speed crash in August San Diego. A Lexus ES350 hit vehicle at more than 120 per hour, killing four

Moments before the crash, a called 911 and said the gas pedal was and the driver could not stop.

On 2, Toyota said it would recall floor mats could interfere with the of the gas pedals if they became

It also said that safety administration officials had no other defect #151; a that the agency quickly was “inaccurate and misleading.”

Under the new recall, Toyota shorten gas pedals by three-quarters of an starting in January, and in some remove padding from the to prevent the pedals from stuck on floor mats.

The covered include the 2007-10 sedan and Tundra pickup 2005-10 Avalon sedan and pickup, 2004-9 Prius and three models from its division: the 2007-10 ES350 and IS250 and IS350.

The affected compose nearly half of all the sold in the United States the last several years.

The also said it would replacement pedals that be available by April, and provide floor mats. In addition, said it would start “brake override” systems which can slow a vehicle even if its gas pedal is stuck as standard equipment on many of its new models.

In a statement, the company vowed to to investigate the acceleration issues.

safety of our owners and the public is our concern and Toyota has and will to thoroughly investigate and take measures to address any defect that are identified,” the company

While federal regulators attributed only a few accidents to acceleration from floor there have been of reports of incidents linked to with Toyota’s gas pedals.

vehicle-testing firms have that acceleration problems can in Toyotas even when mats were not present.

a car is speeding out of control, some can panic and not know how to react, Jake Fisher, a senior with Consumer Reports Part of the problem, he said, is use of a push-button ignition system in models.

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“It’s pretty frightening,” Mr. Fisher. “It’s not easy to that situation.”

A spokesman for Irv Miller, said the company had “no that acceleration problems caused by anything other floor mats jamming gas

“We are very, very confident we have addressed this Mr. Miller told reporters in a call on Wednesday. He said the of brake override systems “add that extra of confidence.”

Some consumers the floor-mat explanation.

Sandra owner of a 2008 Tacoma, she was driving on an expressway near in March when her accelerator got

“I was careening down the highway at over 100 miles per hour,” she “I was standing on the brake and it wouldn’t down.”

She eventually got the car into and pulled off the road. She then the floor mat, and it “wasn’t in the way of the gas she said.

Mrs. Reech has since her floor mats, but still “Every time I get in this I am afraid of it,” she said.

lawsuits have been against Toyota, including a suit in California. “We feel Toyota has known about problem for a long time,” David Wright, whose filed the class-action case on 5 in Los Angeles.

Toyota’s United sales have dropped 25 so far this year, the same as the market. But the latest recall hurt it at a time when it is to come back.


“Often people buy a Toyota, they are it because it’s trouble- said Mr. Fisher. “If all of a sudden this perception that isn’t flawless, you may see people twice.”

More Articles in Business A version of this article in print on November 26, 2009, on B1 of the New York edition.

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