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Lexus RX350, RX450h recall addresses sudden acceleration, Toyota says

Consumer Reports News: July 02, 2012 03:59 PM

Lexus RX350, RX450h recall addresses sudden acceleration, Toyota says

Two years after issuing its last recall for problems related to unintended acceleration, Toyota has recalled two more popular models. The 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h, its hybrid counterpart. The recall is designed to fix "an unsecured or incompatible driver's floor mat" that could trap the accelerator pedal and cause unintended acceleration.

Toyota will modify or replace the accelerator pedal and replace any Lexus driver's floor mat not specified for the vehicle.

In 2009 and 2010, Toyota recalled 8 million vehicles, including its bestselling Camry sedans to ensure they didn't have ill-fitting or extraneous floormats that could cause interference with accelerator pedals. In early 2010 Consumer Reports suspended its "recommended" status for the affected models. The latest recall, which affects 154,000 RXs is different, because it addresses original equipment floormats which could be loose or incompatible.

According to the Associated Press, the recall was prompted by U.S. safety regulators, who may also investigate whether Toyota acted quickly enough to address the problems with the SUVs' floormats. Toyota paid a $16 million fine for not telling the agency earlier about problems with unintended acceleration in its vehicles. (The fine was related to a separate recall of sticky accelerator pedal modules, not to the floormat recall.)

Toyota has since installed brake override systems in all its vehicles, a move endorsed by Consumers Union, the consumer advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. Brake override reduces engine power if the accelerator is applied at the same time as the brakes to allow drivers to maintain control of a vehicle if the throttle gets stuck open, either by a floormat, driver error, or a malfunction.

Consumer Reports has since reinstated its recommendation on Toyota models covered by the recall. And we recommend all consumers make sure their floormats are secured to a factory hook so they can't slide forward into the pedals, that they fit properly, and that mats not be stacked on top of one another.

Eric Evarts

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