Toyota issues public apology, details plan to fix pedals

By | February 2, 2010… Toyota chief executive Akio Toyoda addressed the issue on Friday with Japanese broadcaster NHK at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying:

“I am very sorry that we are making our customers feel concerned. . . . People can feel safe driving in the current situation.” But the statement by Lentz was the first apology aimed at a U.S. audience by a senior Toyota official.The problem involves a friction device that is supposed to provide the proper “feel” in the pedal by adding resistance and making it steady and stable, the automaker said.

Over time, however, parts of the friction device have begun to stick instead of operating smoothly.The solution is a steel reinforcement bar, which, when installed into the assembly, will eliminate the excess friction.

“The company has confirmed the effectiveness of the newly reinforced pedals through rigorous testing on pedal assemblies that had previously shown a tendency to stick,” the company said in a statement Monday.

“Toyota has done the right thing by providing a remedy for this serious safety issue,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a conference call with reporters.

Separately, the company has recently recalled cars in which floor mats can cause the accelerator pedal to become stuck in the depressed position. About 2.1 million vehicles are affected by both the pedal and floor-mat recalls, Toyota said. With the new fix, the company hopes that both problems will be resolved. “Between these two things, this should be under control,” Lentz said.

via Toyota issues public apology, details plan to fix pedals –

So, come on… was there really ever any actual problem with floor mats?  According to the story I heard and posted, this happened in a new Prius during a test drive at a dealership. That doesn’t sound like a candidate for parts being worn down over time, so I wonder if the Prius still has some electronic problem. Time will tell.

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