Toyota Says New Gas Pedals Are Being Shipped, Fix Is Near

Safety expert says the new fix still won't end runaway cars.

January 27, 2010, 6:03 PM

Jan. 28, 2010 — -- New Toyota accelerator pedals have passed tests for problems and are being shipped this week, according to Toyota and its supplier, CTS of Elkhart, Indiana.

Toyota has recalled more than two million cars and stopped sales and production because of "sticky" accelerator pedals that could cause cars to race out of control.

"New pedals are being made to their new specification to solve this recall issue and they're being tested and parts are beginning to be shipped," said Mitch Walorski, director of investor relations for CTS.

A Toyota spokesman confirmed the new pedal was being shipped to factories and said a further announcement was imminent.

"We are looking to repair or replace as many of the accelerators in as short a time as possible," said Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons.

Lyons said some accelerator assemblies could be replaced in their entirety and in other cases existing accelerators could be repaired.

He said Toyota engineers determined that the accumulation of water in an interior part of the pedal assembly was causing excessive wear, "making the pedal slow to return to idle."

At the same time the new parts were being tested and shipped, Toyota expanded the recall by at least two million cars, to include cars and trucks in Europe and China with the same gas pedals from CTS.

CTS As Scapegoat?

CTS, however, suggests it is being made a scapegoat by Toyota.

"The products we supplied to Toyota, including the pedals covered in the recent recall, have been manufactured to Toyota's specification," said Walorski.

"It's a rare set of conditions and that rare set has only occurred in very few instances causing no accidents or injuries," said the CTS executive.

A leading safety analyst said he believed that "the largest number" of the reported accidents and deaths are the result of other problems with Toyotas beyond gas pedals and loose floor mats that have not yet been fully explored.

"It's not one single issue that's causing these unintended acceleration complaints to rise to the top of the defect chart today," said Sean Kane, of Safety Research & Strategies, a private auto safety firm in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

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