Toyota has halted sales of most of its popular models due to an issue with seating material used in cars with heated seats. It is not the seat covering, but rather a layer under the cover. That layer does not conform to US safety standards and therefore it is considered a fire risk. No fires or injuries have been reported.
The US has strict rules about materials used in cars and those the manufacturers wish to use must be approved. This material somehow escaped Toyota’s review process. A recall will surely follow as some vehicles are sure to have been sold with the non-conforming material.
News reports say that the vehicles affected were manufactured in the US. Some were then exported to Korea. Upon inspection by regulators there the non-conforming material was discovered. Toyota is now preparing replacement material for retrofit into cars that were already built with the material and those cars in production now already have switched to a proper material. A spokesman for Toyota commenting on the time it will take to get the existing cars up to standards was quoted as saying "We don't think it will take long to get the parts and make the changes. I don't have any numbers on the timing."
As of today Toyota has not yet released an official statement. When one becomes available we will update our story.