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NHTSA: Toyota Floor Mat Statement 'Inaccurate And Misleading'

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This past Monday Toyota released a statement denying any finding of fault on Toyota's part or any defect in its cars in relation to the deadly floor mat safety advisory issued in late September. Today, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is saying that Toyota's information is "inaccurate and misleading" and that there is in fact a defect in the 3.8 million cars affected.

The Toyota statement included reference to a letter being sent out to customers which Toyota stated, "confirms that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured."

The NHTSA minces no words in contradicting Toyota's claims, calling the removal of the offending floor mats an interim measure only, and saying that "This remedy does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles involving the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats, which is related to accelerator and floor pan design." That leaves no doubt that the NHTSA considers the design of the vehicles and the accelerator pedal both to be defective in this regard.

Between the tragedy of a California Highway Patrol officer and his family losing their lives in a borrowed dealership Lexus ES 350 and the farcical zip tie solution issued shortly thereafter, the Toyota/Lexus floor mat recall is quickly becoming one of the most unique events in recent automotive safety history.

The problem, according to Toyota, lies with installation and mat selection. The dealer loaner car that was driven to a fiery end in Southern California earlier this year was just such a case, says the company: the wrong mat was installed improperly.

So the fix? To install the proper floor mats and do it properly. The letter mailed earlier this week explains that the notice is of a future voluntary safety recall campaign which will see the mats replaced with the right model and installed according to procedure for no charge. Owners had previously been warned to pull driver's side floor mats from affected vehicles and not replace them with any other mats.

Affected models include:

• 2007 – 2010 Camry
• 2005 – 2010 Avalon
• 2004 – 2009 Prius
• 2005 – 2010 Tacoma
• 2007 – 2010 Tundra
• 2007 – 2010 ES350
• 2006 – 2010 IS250 and IS350

If you own one of these models, look for the letter in your mailbox over the next couple of days. But be forewarned that the NHTSA isn't buying Toyota's story.

[NHTSA, Toyota]

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Comments (11)
  1. This reminds me of their 'warranty enhancement' from a few years ago when they did not want to call it yet another 'recall'.
     
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  2. why should Toyota issue a recall for a dealerships stupidity/laziness?
    "The problem, then, lies with installation and mat selection. The dealer loaner car that was driven to a fiery end in Southern California earlier this year was just such a case: the wrong mat was installed improperly."
    read the entire article before you post a BRILLIANT comment next time.
     
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  3. I think Toyota makes great vehicles, but something is fishy here. It seems that Toyota is hiding something. I am not sure why readers like "By solo" believe every thing they read. Toyota hid/denied the sludge problem and they are doing the same here. If you love you family, don't buy a Toyota.
     
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  4. Hey Toyota Lover, you have an ironic name there. Trying to spread Toyota hate on purpose?
    If the floor mats are PROPERLY secured, HOW could they POSSIBLY jam the pedals? THINK people, THINK about it. It makes zero sense.
    On almost any car, with improperly secured floor mats, there is a risk of the pedals jamming.
     
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  5. Hey Solo, I read the entire article, did you? "The problem, ACCORDING TO TOYOTA, lies with installation and mat selection." "The NHTSA minces no words in contradicting Toyota's claims, calling the removal of the offending floor mats an interim measure only, and saying that "This remedy does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles...."
    Really? Even if it is a bad floor mat, why isn't the brake overriding the accelerator pedal and slowing down the vehicle? Your life is more important then Toyota's reputation and profit. A company with integrity would value customers lives over their profit. Toyota needs to come clean.
     
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  6. By toyo tells people to "think" but I don't believe that he has given much thought to the subject. Assuming floor mats are the issue, then yes, properly secured floor mats cannot jam the pedal. It has not been concluded that the mats were the cause. Check out this ABC News story and, if you are objective, you will have a completely different opinion on the matter.
    http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerindex?id=8990979
     
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  7. I'm not sure why no hyperlink. I'll try again below but if not, copy and paste. Definately a must see on the subject. Amazing ABC carried the piece.
    http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerindex?id=8990979
     
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  8. Generally speaking, Toyota makes good cars but clearly there is a problem here. Furthermore, their handling of the floor mat issue and the immediate contradiction by NHTSA certainly appears to have stirred public opinion against them.
    I think that most would agree that they (Toyota/NHTSA) should attempt to get to the bottom of the issue before more people get hurt (or worse). Afterwards, they can debate about the cause and how it could have been avoided.
     
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  9. I hate all these computer controlled car parts. i don’t mind the ability to alter things a little and apply some breaking but there should be a direct connection that i can over power or attempt to. instead of actually having no connection what so ever.
     
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  10. I am waiting delivery of a Lexus RX 350. Do the safety concerns extend to this model?
     
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  11. Toyota released a statement earlier this week clearing its name of any fault in the floor mat recall that affected 3.8 million vehicles – by far the largest in the company’s history – but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a counter statement, calling Toyota’s information “inaccurate and misleading”.
     
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