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Toyota updates on recall campaign, safety initiatives for 2011

Consumer Reports News: October 04, 2010 05:20 PM

Toyota has spent most of past 12 months under the microscope amid reports, and subsequent investigations, into issues related to unintended acceleration. The automaker has issued several massive recalls to address potential causes of acceleration issues, and today Chief Quality Officer for North America Steve St. Angelo provided an update. So far, Lexus and Toyota dealership have completed more than five million recall measures.

Toyota says that about 80 percent of the sticking pedal modifications have been completed on the 2.3 million vehicles involved with that recall. Nearly 58 percent of the floor mat entrapment modifications have been completed on the 5.4 million vehicles that were recalled for this issue, including nearly 80 percent of the Avalon, Camry, and Lexus ES350 sedans. And more than 86 percent of the ABS software updates have been performed on the 148,000 Prius and Lexus models that were recalled for related issues.

Beginning April 2010, Toyota launched the Swift Market Analysis Response Teams ( SMART) initiative to investigate unintended acceleration reports and accidents. The so-called SMART group numbers 200 auto engineers and field technicians who have collectively investigated about 4,200 vehicles. To date, Toyota says it "has not found a single case in which the vehicle's electronic throttle control system would lead to unintended acceleration." (To notify Toyota of an acceleration complaint, contact customer service at 800-331-4331.)

Going forward, the automaker has committed to equip all Toyota vehicles for North America with Smart Stop, a brake-throttle override that would allow drivers to intuitively countermand runaway acceleration by simply pressing the brake pedal. Currently, Smart Stop is on 84 percent of new Toyota, Lexus, and Scion models on sale in the United States.

In addition, vehicles from all three brands have updated Event Data Recorders (EDRs) for 2011 that can capture both pre- and post-collision data to aid investigators.
Learn more about sudden, unintended acceleration in our special section.

Jeff Bartlett

Video: How "brake override" stops runaway cars
Consumers Union calls for changes to strengthen U.S. car-safety net
Eight things that can dramatically improve auto safety
Five key fixes automakers should make now to reduce unintended acceleration
How to tell if your Toyota is affected by the recent recalls
How to stop a runaway car: Don’t pump the brakes

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