Toyota halts sale of eight models - but sorry - still no fix for car owners

Toyota has recalled and halted the sale of eight models of its cars due to a sticky accelerator and because the company has no fix for the problem (a federal no-no.) Unfortunately, those eight models make up more than 1 million vehicles in the nation. The models are:

  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2010 Highlander
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia

The Massachusetts-based Safety Research and Strategies reported that sudden and unintended acceleration in Toyotas caused 18 deaths and 275 crashes since 1999. But with no fix, what's a Toyota owner to do?

For what it's worth, a Toyota spokesman said Toyota recall owners will have to pay careful attention to the accelerator pedal and if it seems rough or sluggish returning to the idle position. If drivers are noticing the accelerator seems to be sticking, they should stop driving the vehicle immediately. So far the company has yet to announce a remedy for the problem. However, it has released a Q&A on the recall for car owners on its Web site, with more safety advice:
  • If you need to stop immediately, the vehicle can be controlled by stepping on the brake pedal with both feet using firm and steady pressure. Do not pump the brake pedal as it will deplete the vacuum utilized for the power brake assist.
  • Shift the transmission gear selector to the Neutral (N) position and use the brakes to make a controlled stop at the side of the road and turn off the engine.
  • If unable to put the vehicle in Neutral, turn the engine OFF. This will not cause loss of steering or braking control, but the power assist to these systems will be lost.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with an Engine Start/Stop button, firmly and steadily push the button for at least three seconds to turn off the engine. Do NOT tap the Engine Start/Stop button.
  • If the vehicle is equipped with a conventional key-ignition, turn the ignition key to the ACC position to turn off the engine. Do NOT remove the key from the ignition as this will lock the steering wheel.
When I called Toyota's headquarters in Torrance, Calif. I was told by a spokeswoman that so far there is no fix for the sticky accelerator and that any accelerator problems would be handled on a "case-by-case basis" at the dealership, but when asked about protocol -- would that mean a customer would receive a loaner while their car was being worked on? -- she declined to be specific.

"Of course Toyota wouldn't put our customers in the position of driving off the lot with a dangerous vehicle," said Zoe Zeigler. "But it would be up to the dealership to come up with a suitable solution. There is no one uniform answer."

Many analysts are saying the latest recall and suspension of sales has cost Toyota dearly -- not only in profits, but also in public opinion. Previously, Toyota was admired for their well-made and energy-efficient cars and the recall will sorely test customer loyalty.

After decades of being a trusted brand, Toyota is in danger of losing its solid reputation. Can it survive? I think we will all have a better idea once Toyota comes up with a plan to fix the recalled vehicles -- if that's done quickly, maybe Toyota owners would be willing to forget this ever happened
Read Full Story