Toyota Defends Decision to Continue Selling Vehicles with Defective Accelerator Pedals

Despite last Thursday’s announcement that it will recall about 2.3 vehicles, Toyota spokesman John Hanson said that the company is still selling vehicles with potentially faulty accelerator pedals. Hanson said that the vehicles should not present an immediate safety risk because the problems drivers have experienced have developed over time as the pedal assemblies have become prematurely worn.

Hanson contends, “It is something that happens over the use of the vehicle. Out of the box, the new vehicle works perfectly fine.”

Hanson said that the faulty pedal assemblies were manufactured by CTS Automotive Products of Elkhart, Indiana and developed problems through continued use. He describes the initial signs of premature wear as a rough feel when the throttle pedal is depressed. As the pedal assembly continues to fail, drivers may notice that the pedal does not return quickly when his or her foot is removed from the accelerator. He said that in the worst case, the throttle sticks open.

In a report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Toyota said that CTS manufactured the defective pedals in its facilities located in Ontario, Canada. On Friday, CTS declined to comment when asked if any of its other customers had purchased similar products that could lead to recalls of their vehicles. The NHTSA is currently looking into the question.

Last Thursday, Toyota said that the majority of its Toyota-brand vehicles are equipped with electronic throttle assemblies that could be defective. Hanson said that includes model-years going as far back as 2005.

Toyota will now be required to provide the NHTSA with detailed plans for how they intend to repair the vehicles involved in the recall. At this point, Toyota has not decided on a definitive course of action, and Hanson said it could take weeks for the automaker to finalize its repair plan.

In the meantime, Hanson advises owners who have experienced problems with their accelerator pedals to contact their local dealer immediately. He said, “We don’t want that vehicle on the road, and we want to keep that owner mobile. We’ll do whatever we can on a case-by-case basis.”

Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi are among CTS Automotive Products’ customers but all claim that their throttle pedals differ from the ones manufactured for Toyota. Honda spokesman, Kurt Antonius, said that CTS is obligated to notify all automakers that purchased pedals similar to the faulty Toyota pedals. They haven’t notified us, he said. Antonius went on to say, “We have no customer complaints. We have examined the pedals. It doesn’t appear to be a problem for us.”

Mitsubishi spokesman Maurice Durand said their throttle pedals are manufactured to their precise specifications which he said are significantly different from the ones CTS builds for Toyota. He also said that Mitsubishi has received no complaint of sticking accelerator pedals.

Nissan spokesman Scott Vazin said that there are significant differences between the throttle pedal assemblies used in their vehicles and those used by Toyota. He said that Nissan and Infinity vehicles include a feature that will automatically “recognize when both the brake and accelerator are depressed and automatically reduce engine power.

Prior to last Thursday’s report to the NHTSA, Toyota had not publicly identified CTS as the supplier of the faulty accelerator pedals. Referring to the pedals, Hanson said, “We consider this a genuine Toyota part, no matter who makes it,” and added, “It’s not the supplier’s responsibility. It’s ours.” has estimated that the number of vehicles involved in Toyota’s latest recall equals about two-thirds of the automaker’s annual U.S. sales volume.

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