US satisfied with Toyota recall fix
Washington, January 31, 2010
US safety regulators are satisfied with a Toyota Motor plan for fixing an accelerator problem that is part of a widening global recall and unprecedented sales and production halt, a government official said.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) engineers have reviewed Toyota's proposal for preventing gas pedals in eight models from sticking and have raised no objections, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan has yet to be publicly announced.
Toyota has issued a series of recent recalls covering 5.6 million vehicles in the United states due to sudden acceleration in some vehicles. It is the largest ever recall for Toyota and among the biggest for an automaker in US history.
The problem has affected popular selling Toyota cars as well as its luxury Lexus models and is suspected of causing crashes that led to 19 fatalities over the past decade, government officials have said.
Nearly 2 million vehicles also have been recalled in Europe.
PSA Peugeot Citroen said on Saturday it would recall 100,000 Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1 models made at a factory in the Czech Republic where the French group and Toyota jointly make cars.
Some 75,000 Toyota vehicles have been recalled in China.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda apologized for the recall, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Friday.
"We're extremely sorry to have made customers uneasy," Toyoda said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in comments that were broadcast by NHK.
Toyoda last commented publicly on the matter in October, when he expressed regret for the deaths of four people in a California crash linked to the defects last year.
Most of the vehicles recalled in the United States were singled out over concerns that gas pedals could get jammed on floor mats. Toyota is modifying gas pedals, redesigning floor mats, and taking other steps to address that issue.
The subject of the fix reviewed by NHTSA this week and expected to be announced by Toyota within days covers more than 2 million vehicles equipped with gas pedals that may not spring back as designed.
The remedy being readied by Toyota and its accelerator supplier, CTS Corp., involves a shim, also called a spacer, that will be placed in the accelerator to keep it from sticking, sources have said.
NHTSA regulators are not required to approve the remedy but they can reject the approach if they consider it inadequate. - Reuters