After issuing 6.5 million vehicle recalls over the past few months, Toyota on Tuesday took the further and dramatic step of halting sales of eight models until it gets a handle on whether they are exhibiting uncontrolled acceleration and, if so, why.
Production is being halted on the 2009-'10 RAV4, Corolla, and Matrix; 2005-'10 Avalon; 2007-'10 Camry; 2010 Highlander, 2007-'10 Tundra, and 2008-'10 Sequoia. Five plants in Indiana, Texas, Kentucky, and California will be affected.
Toyota has been racing for months to get in front of whatever engineering issue may exist and the public-relations nightmare it is creating.
Dealers began fitting revised accelerator pedals on 3.8 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles after a September recall that was the largest in company history. Earlier this month Toyota also began retrofitting a throttle interrupt mechanism on many Camry, Avalon, and Lexus models, a mechanism that would be phased into all Toyota corporation vehicles by the end of 2010. And a few days ago the company issued a new recall on 2.3 million cars to correct a part in the throttle linkage that may wear prematurely and prevent the throttle from returning to idle.
When reports of uncontrolled acceleration began surfacing last fall, the company advised owners of many models to remove floor mats as a temporary solution until dealers could fit a revised accelerator pedal that supposedly would not catch on the flooring. But ABC News has recently surfaced a number of reports of uncontrolled acceleration in Toyota cars whose floor mats had been removed.