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Toyota Recall Information

Toyota recently began a series of recalls to fix a potentially life threatening consequence resulting from sudden acceleration in some of its cars. By February 2010, these recalls have expanded to cover nearly 8 million vehicles worldwide. Though repairs are ongoing, Toyota is under fire for being slow to respond to a known complaint. In addition, there is concern that even the most recent version of the proposed fix does not address the true cause of the problem.

The Problem with Toyota Cars

Since at least 2000, there have been a number of complaints of accidents involving Toyota cars that spontaneously accelerated out of control.

The Recalls

In response to rising reports of sudden acceleration,Toyota began issuing recalls. The first recall was related to all-weather floor mats trapping the accelerator pedal of the cars. This recall covers about 3.8 million vehicles, including:

  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2007-2010 ES350 (Lexus)
  • 2006-2010 IS 250 and IS350 (Lexus)
  • 2005-2010 Tacoma
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2004-2009 Prius

The recall solution was simple (and, Toyota boasted, cheap)—remove the floor mats on the driver’s side. However, the recall did not seem to completely fix the problem as Toyota soon announced a rolling recall for all the vehicles in the previous recall. This new recall involved reconfiguring the accelerator pedal and the floor under the pedal to reduce the likelihood of floor mat entrapment.

Finally, in January 2010, Toyota announced a recall of over two million vehicles, some of which had been affected by earlier recalls. This recall was related to accelerator pedals that became stuck under certain conditions after wear. The vehicles affected by this recall are:

  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2009-2010 Corolla Matrix
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2009 Vibe (Pontiac)

Repairs related to this recall are ongoing and vehicle owners are being notified.

The 2010 Prius is also being recalled for an unrelated brake issue.

Ongoing Investigation

Despite the extensive number of vehicles that have been recalled, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) continues to investigate several possible alternate causes for the unexplained acceleration. Possible alternate explanations include:

  • Electromagnetic interference affecting electronic throttles
  • Short circuit allowing false signals to be sent to the throttle
  • Software problems that cause acceleration glitches

The investigators are paying special attention to a small number of complaints of spontaneous acceleration in vehicles that have already been fixed by Toyota. Some of these explanations may implicate cars not currently covered by the recalls.

When Did Toyota Know of the defect?

Toyota may have known about the existence of a serious defect in its cars since at least 2007. In 2007, State Farm Insurance notified the NHTSA about spontaneous acceleration claims associated with Toyota vehicles that State Farm received from their clients. In the same year, Toyota issued a recall of Toyota Camrys and Lexus ES 350s for accelerator pedal floor mat entrapment, which should have been the automaker’s sign that its cars had a serious, life-threatening defect.

Contact Us for Help

If you have suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one in an accident due to unexplained acceleration in a Toyota vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation through a product liability lawsuit. The lawyers at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton represent clients nationwide in defective product lawsuits. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

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