Toyota expands unintended acceleration recall, adding 154k Lexus SUVs
Toyota’s statement today was short and sweet, plainly explaining that Toyota Motor Sales was once again amending the 2009 recall order - this time adding the 2010 Lexus RX350 and the 2010 Lexus RX450h – with 131,800 examples of the RX350 being included alongside 22,200 hybrid Lexus sport utility vehicles. Owners of these 154,000+ Lexus vehicles will be notified in early August to return to their local dealership where a technician will “remedy the involved vehicles”. No details have been offered as to how Toyota plans to fix the problem but it likely includes new floor mats, new retaining clips, or both.
Since the NHTSA had basically moved on from the unintended acceleration investigations with Toyota, it comes as a bit of a surprise for the Japanese automaker who has worked so hard to move past that to bring the topic back up. Some would say that this is a sign of Toyota being proactive and recalling a vehicle based on the mere chance of a problem but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration isn’t quite as appreciative as you would think.
It turns out that the NHTSA isn’t happy about this new announcement and reports indicate that the feds are now launching an investigation into Toyota’s timeliness in reporting this problem. If Toyota is found to have known about the 2010 Lexus RX350 and RX450h possibly being involved in the unintended acceleration recalls of 2009 and 2010 but they did not report it earlier, the automaker could be back in hot water with the US federal government. Keep in mind; Toyota has already been fined millions of dollars for not reporting these problems in a timely manner when it was proven that they knew about the unintended acceleration issues well before they made the NHTSA aware of the problem. Should the NHTSA find that Toyota knew of the pedal entrapment issue previously, the government could decide to slap Toyota with another massive fiduciary penalty.
In 2009, Toyota Motor Co recalled over 5.2 million vehicles in the United States due to floor mat entrapment issues – meaning that the floor mat can shift around and cause the accelerator to get stuck against the floor. The company had found that in at least one case of unintended acceleration, the vehicle in question that was out of control had all weather floormats that came free of the retaining clips and bunched up around the gas pedal.