Toyota has halted both sales and production on eight different models of vehicles, including the popular Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry lines, due to continuing problems with gas pedals that stick, causing vehicles to accelerate out of control.
The stoppage was issued in the wake of two massive Toyota and Lexus recalls due to the gas pedal problems. According to a report in the New York Times, Toyota has halted the sales and production until a fix for the defect is finalized. Vehicles impacted include the Avalon, Camry and Corolla sedans, the Matrix wagon, the Tundra pick-up truck, the RAV4 crossover and the Highlander and Sequoia sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
Earlier this month, a Toyota recall was issued for 2.3 million of those same vehicles. That recall came after a similar recall of Toyota and Lexus floor mats was issued for 4.2 million vehicles, after the company said that the acceleration problems were caused by the gas pedal getting stuck under thick all-weather floor mats.
Toyota officials have said the production and sales suspension is meant to restore consumer confidence in the company, which has taken a hit as a result of the recalls. However, some automotive industry analysts say that the unusual move may indicate that the recalls are symptoms of a more serious, widespread problem with Toyota vehicles, and even if that is not true, it may cause consumers to believe there is an issue.
Problems with Toyota and Lexus vehicles accelerating out of control gained national attention following a fatal accident in California in August, where an off-duty state trooper and three family members were killed while driving a Lexus ES 350 on loan from a San Diego dealership. Minutes before the fatal Lexus crash, passengers called police and reported that the Lexus had accelerated to 120 m.p.h. Witnesses reported that the car’s tires were on fire, which was likely due to the driver slamming on the brakes before slamming into an SUV, falling off an embankment, rolling over multiple times and bursting into flames.
Federal regulators have received more than 100 incident reports from Toyota owners regarding their vehicles accelerating out of control.