Engineers with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have given their approval to a Toyota plan to fix vehicles that may be subject to sudden, uncontrolled acceleration. The problem has been linked to 19 deaths and roughly 2,000 complaints, leading the world's largest automaker to recall nearly 2.5 million vehicles while halting production on eight models.
Parts related to the sticking accelerator were produced by Indiana firm CTS Corp. Both CTS and Toyota developed a fix for existing cars, which will require a mechanic to install a shim/spacer in the accelerator pedal assembly to prevent it from sticking, according to published reports. A new part is also expected to be installed in vehicles at the factory once assembly begins again.
Although the repair is almost finalized, new vehicles are not expected to be delivered again until mid-February.
The NHTSA was obliged to reject the repair action if they found it to be insufficient. A further 5.5 million vehicles have been recalled for faulty floor mats that cause the accelerator to jam. Separately, the automaker is also developing new floor mats to help prevent the problem.
The automaker has recalled 2 million vehicles in Europe, and 75,000 vehicles in China as well.
Toyota's share price on the New York Stock Exchange has dropped nearly 16% from its January peak, sparked by a recall announcement on Jan. 21. Share value could fall even further if the recall action led to new car customers avoiding Toyota because of the problem. Toyota is expected to announce their January sales figures this week.
The models affected include:
- 2005-2010 Avalon
- some 2007-2010 Camrys
- 2009-2010 Corolla
- 2010 Highlander
- 2009-2010 Matrix
- 2009-2010 RAV4
- 2008-2010 Sequoia
- 2007-2010 Tundra