Toyota hopes media blitz will reassure customers

Feb 1 2010 - 8:50am

Images

Delivery driver Josh Walker carefully drives a new Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV off of a truck at a Toyota dealership in Seattle, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. Toyota Motor Corp. announced late Tuesday it would halt sales of some of its top-selling models to fix gas pedals that could stick and cause unintended acceleration. Last week, Toyota issued a recall for the same eight models affecting 2.3 million vehicles. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Delivery driver Josh Walker carefully drives a new Toyota Highlander hybrid SUV off of a truck at a Toyota dealership in Seattle, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2010. Toyota Motor Corp. announced late Tuesday it would halt sales of some of its top-selling models to fix gas pedals that could stick and cause unintended acceleration. Last week, Toyota issued a recall for the same eight models affecting 2.3 million vehicles. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. said it will give details early Monday in the U.S. on how it plans to fix gas pedals in more than 2 million vehicles being recalled there, as the Japanese automaker struggles to reassure anxious owners.

The plan will come in a release at 6:30 a.m EST and will be followed by a conference call for the media at 11 a.m. EST, Toyota Motor Sales USA said. Toyota spokesman Paul Nolasco in Tokyo declined comment.

Toyota has recalled 4.2 million cars and trucks in North America, Europe and China to fix accelerator pedals that can get stuck or are slow to return when released, increasing the risk of a crash. The recalls do not involve Toyota models made and sold in Japan.

American dealers have told The Associated Press that Toyota will disclose details of the fix Monday morning. One dealer was told by a Toyota executive that replacement parts could arrive Thursday or Friday.

The automaker told the dealers about the plan Saturday after hearing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that it did not object to the fix, the dealers said.

Toyota took out full-page ads Sunday in 20 major newspapers in the U.S., saying production was being put on "pause," to put customers first. It does not give details of the planned fix.

Toyota said last week it will halt production of the eight models covered by the recall, starting Monday, until they can be repaired, and has suspended their sales.

Toyota has not said exactly when production will resume. It has said that so far the suspension was planned for a week.

Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, says the problem in the gas pedals is rare and is caused by condensation that builds up in the gas pedal assembly.

Several dealers have said the fix involves slipping a shim into an area where springs push the gas pedal back to its resting position after a driver has eased off the gas.

Dealers have been eager to fix the cars ever since the recall was announced on Jan. 21.

The recall in the U.S. covers 2.3 million vehicles and involves the 2009-10 RAV4 crossover, the 2009-10 Corolla, the 2009-10 Matrix hatchback, the 2005-10 Avalon, the 2007-10 Camry, the 2010 Highlander crossover, the 2007-10 Tundra pickup and the 2008-10 Sequoia SUV.

The faulty gas pedals were made by CTS Corp. of Elkhart, Indiana. Toyota said last week it has begun shipping new gas pedals systems to American dealers.

The pedal recall is separate from a recall involving floor mats that can bend and push down accelerators.

The two recalls combined affect more than 7 million vehicles worldwide, threatening to tarnish the brand image of an automaker that had prided itself on quality.

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AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this story.

 

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