02/01/10 — Toyota dealers get word to start repairs

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Toyota dealers get word to start repairs

By From Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on February 1, 2010 1:46 PM

WASHINGTON -- Toyota of Goldsboro general sales manager Brant Alyea said he hopes to receive parts this week from Toyota Motor Corp. to fix the sticky gas pedal problem that has plagued several of the popular automaker's vehicles recently.

The parts to fix the gas pedal problem are "supposedly coming in Thursday, I have to check with our service manager and district rep so we can go ahead right away and get our customers informed," he said.

Once they're in, he added, the first order of business will be to repair those vehicles already out on the roads.

"We're going to first fix our customers' cars, we're going to take care of the cars on the lot later," Alyea said.

Customers should receive a letter from Toyota informing them of the situation and scheduling a time for them to come in to have the vehicle repaired.

Alyea said his staff was planning to meet this morning to determine whether the business will need to extend its hours to fix customers' vehicles once the parts arrive.

"We're the only store in Goldsboro, I think, that opens seven days a week, so we're going to have a meeting to schedule, to accommodate customers on this recall," Alyea said.

And once current customers' cars are repaired, Alyea said they would move quickly to fix the rest of their inventory, about 40 percent of which has been affected by the massive recall -- 4.2 million vehicles worldwide -- and sales halt.

Technical bulletins on how to install the new parts should arrive at dealers by midweek, the company told dealers in an e-mail. It was not clear exactly when repairs would start, although dealers have said they'll begin as soon as possible.

The automaker also said today it would suspend production of eight U.S. models affected by the recall for this week, with factories restarting on Feb. 8. The company suspended sales of the models last week until repairs can be made.

Toyota recalled the vehicles on Jan. 21, determining that excess friction in the gas pedal assembly could in rare cases cause the pedals to stick.

Engineers traced the problem to a friction device in the assembly that is supposed to provide the proper pedal "feel" by adding resistance, Toyota said in a statement.

The device has a shoe that rubs against a nearby metal surface during normal pedal use. But wear and environmental conditions can over time cause the pedals to not operate smoothly or in rare cases stick partially open.

The company said a steel reinforcement bar will be installed, reducing the friction.

Owners are expected to receive information by mail beginning this week. The company will cover all repair costs.

The recall in the U.S. includes 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. It also has been expanded to another 1.9 million vehicles in Europe and China.

Toyota said that not all the models of Camry, RAV4, Corolla and Highlander listed in the recall have the faulty gas pedals, which were made by CTS Corp. of Elkhart, Ind. Dealers can tell which models have the CTS pedals. Models made in Japan, and some models built in the U.S., have pedal systems made by another parts supplier, Denso Corp., which function well.

All Matrix, Avalon, Tundra and Sequoia models covered by the recall have the faulty pedals.