However, the latest news coming from
the Toyota camp threatens to take quite a bit of wind out of the
automaker's sails. What was once thought just to be just a problem
installed floor mats has turned into a much more complicated
issue. Last week, Toyota issued
a recall for 2.3 million vehicles to fix problems with the
Yesterday, however, Toyota took the
drastic model to announced the suspension
of sales for eight vehicle models in the U.S. -- effective
February 1 -- including the best selling car in America: the Toyota
Camry. "Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking
accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence
of floor mats," the company said in a press release. "There
is a possibility that certain accelerator pedal mechanisms may, in
rare instances, mechanically stick in a partially depressed position
or return slowly to the idle position."
The full list of affected vehicles
2007-2010 Camry (excluding hybrid models)
2010 Highlander (excluding hybrid models)
"This unprecedented automotive
decision indicates how serious a safety problem this is,"
Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs told
Reuters. "We've gone from floor mats to recalls for
wear items to a full shutdown, and I can't help but think that the
company's credibility is being called into question."
All affected models are either built in
the U.S. or Canada. In addition, all affected models have accelerator
pedals that come from a single supplier, CTS. Toyota is now working with CTS to fix the problem at hand so that the planned stoppage
of vehicle sales doesn't go on for too long.
"In this highly competitive
market, no automaker -- not even Toyota -- can afford to stop selling
its cars and trucks for long, but perhaps Toyota is banking on the
idea that customers will appreciate the priority of their safety in
this decision," added Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica
Updated 1/27/2010 @ 5:43pm EST
In a true showing of kicking a company while it's down, GM is now offering a $1,000 trade-in rebate (or free financing) to any customer that trades in a Toyota vehicle to purchase a new GM vehicle.