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Toyota Sudden Acceleration Recall: Company Knew Of Gas Pedal Problem Last Year

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Toyota announced last week an extension of its massive recall due to accelerator problems and recalling another 2.3 million vehicles. Despite its recall of 6.5 million Toyota, Lexus and Pontiac vehicles due to the deadly sudden acceleration defect, the company is still selling the recalled vehicles to the public.

Now, USA Today has reported that Toyota knew about its gas pedal and accelerator problems last year but failed to issue a recall until the day before ABC News broke the story about additional problems.

Toyota says it knew there were problems with accelerator-pedal assemblies from supplier CTS late last year, but not enough to warrant a recall.

The automaker says it hurriedly announced last Thursday a planned recall of 2.3 million Toyotas, back to 2005 models, because the defect trend had picked up. "The quickness that this all came together is one reason why I don’t have numbers" of complaints, the automaker’s U.S. safety spokesman, John Hanson, says. "And why we don’t have a fix."

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Hanson has said it could be weeks before Toyota determines a remedy and gets it approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

So… Toyota knew about the problem last year — as Toyota was making "inaccurate and misleading" statements to the public about the severity of its sudden acceleration problem, yielding a strong rebuke from federal safety investigators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA"). This appears to be yet another notch in Toyota’s well-documented history of attempted cover-ups of safety problems.

Everything about Toyota’s conduct is disturbing to me.

First, Toyota publicly denied a problem of which it had actionable knowledge.

Second, Toyota "recalls" the vehicles, but keeps selling the defective and recalled vehicles to an unsuspecting public.

Third, Toyota recalled the vehicles without knowing how to fix them.

What is wrong with this auto company? How does it keep getting away with kind of outrageous conduct? Where is the public outrage? Why haven’t Toyota owners staged a revolt?

How many people have been injured or killed by this terrible defect?

Instead of fixing this deadly problem, Toyota ignored the problem for more than five years. Instead of acknowledging and — more importantly — fixing this widespread defect, Toyota instead blamed its own customers… calling these events "driver error."

If you or I acted this way we would be stopped and then we would be held accountable. Who is working to stop Toyota’s conduct? Who will make sure Toyota is held accountable?

I have been chronicling the Toyota sudden acceleration for months and you can learn more at our auto safety blog.

Learn more and become a fan of Langdon & Emison on Facebook.

3 Comments

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  1. Olga Aguilar says:
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    I owned two Camrys, both of which were totaled due to the inability to stop. The first Camry, 1997, was totaled in 2005 and the second, 2004 Camry, was totaled March 2009. Both of these Camrys failed to stop when the brakes were applied. Both accidents occurred prior to the knowledge of the accelerator sticking recall with Toyota. And thankfully, both accidents did not result in life threatening bodily injury. Sadly, both accidents resulted in the loss of both cars and an unnecessary financial impact. I know there is no legal remedy for my case but I will be filing complaints with the NHTSA and with the Safety Research Strategy group. Heads up, everyone!!

  2. FED UP says:
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    I had a similar problem with a Honda, when the weather would turn cold below 35 degrees the accelerator would stick, of course the dealer could find nothing wrong with the car lucky for me it was a stick, oh and they told me the car was high mileage at 60k and I should trade it in on a new Honda. Well I dumped the car and bought a Chevy, 75k and no problems not one the best car I have ever owned. I will never buy another japanese car. Wake up dump that Toyota death trap they won’t be worth anything soon. Isn’t it about time you tried a quality American car for a change??????

  3. dpn says:
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    Olga: You say the car did not stop when you applied the brakes, but this isn’t necessarily a gas pedal problem — and — CTS, the manufacturer of the gas pedals that are being recalled, did not make gas pedals for any models prior to 2005, according to their press statement — so neither of your Camrys had the sticking gas pedals in question.