The massive recalls announced by Toyota are designed to resolve a yearlong government investigation into whether it recalled enough vehicles and came at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said the automaker.
Toyota said it was adding about 1.4 million vehicles to its November 2009 recall for pedal entrapment in floor mats. All told, Toyota has now recalled nearly 7 million vehicles in the United States over the issue.
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said after a government review of more than 400,000 pages of Toyota documents, it was concluding its final investigation into the automaker "to determine whether the scope of its recalls for pedal entrapment was sufficient."
"As a result of the agency's review, NHTSA asked Toyota to recall these additional vehicles, and now that the company has done so, our investigation is closed," Strickland said.
Toyota spokesman John Hanson said "this latest round" of recalls hopefully puts an end to its accelerator pedal recalls.
The recalls are the latest blow to the company that has now recalled 14.2 million vehicles in the United States since January 2009, according to a Detroit News analysis. The company has recalled millions more vehicles worldwide.
Toyota — which got good news last week when two government studies found no evidence that electronics were to blame for sudden acceleration — has been struggling to put its recall problems behind it.
The company said there were no accidents or injuries linked to the new vehicles recalled Feb. 24.
Rebecca Lindland, an automotive analyst at IHS Global, said Toyota's long-term growth prospects were still at risk.
She noted that some consumers -- long-time Toyota buyers or people who were adamantly opposed to buying a Toyota -- aren't going to change their minds because of the new recall.
"But Toyota is vulnerable with first-time Toyota or Lexus owners. This is not the experience that they expected," Lindland said. Owners of other brands may also be harder to convert to Toyota.
The company is rightly focused on its reputation -- and recalling vehicles -- even with little evidence, Lindland said.
Toyota has announced that it will conduct a voluntary safety recall of approximately 20,000 2006 and early 2007 Model Year GS 300 and GS 350 All-Wheel Drive vehicles to modify the shape of the plastic pad embedded in the driver's side floor carpet. In the event that the floor carpet around the accelerator pedal is not properly replaced in the correct position after a service operation, there is a possibility that the plastic pad embedded into the floor carpet may interfere with the operation of the accelerator pedal. If this occurs, the accelerator pedal may become temporarily stuck in a partially depressed position rather than returning to the idle position.
Owners of the involved GS 300 and GS 350 All-Wheel Drive vehicles will receive a notification by first class mail beginning in early March 2011.
Toyota will also voluntarily recall approximately 372,000 2004 through 2006 and early 2007 RX 330, RX 350, and RX 400h vehicles, and approximately 397,000 2004 through 2006 Highlander and Highlander HV vehicles to replace the driver's side floor carpet cover and its two retention clips. If the forward retention clip used to secure the floor carpet cover, which is located in front of the center console, is not installed properly, the cover may lean toward the accelerator pedal and interfere with the accelerator pedal arm. If this occurs, the accelerator pedal may become temporarily stuck in a partially depressed position rather than returning to the idle position.
Owners of the involved RX and Highlander vehicles will receive an interim notification by first class mail beginning in the near future, explaining how to inspect for this condition or that they may contact their local dealer to perform the inspection.
Owners will receive a second notification once the replacement covers are available.
Separately, Toyota has amended its recall from November 2009, adding three models to address the potential for unsecured or incompatible floor mat entrapment of the accelerator pedal. The models added include:
• Approximately 603,000 2003 through 2009 4Runner
• Approximately 17,000 2008 through 2011 Lexus LX 570; and
• Approximately 761,000 2006 through 2010 RAV4
Owners of the involved 4Runner, LX 570, and RAV4 vehicles will receive an interim notification by first class mail beginning in the near future, informing them of the condition. Owners will receive a second notification once the recall preparations are complete.
Toyota and Lexus dealers will implement the newly announced and amended recall remedies at no charge to the vehicle owners.
Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall or www.lexus.com/recall and the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331 or Lexus Customer Satisfaction at 1-800-25 LEXUS or 1-800-255-3987.