Toyota issues massive recall

Toyota Canada Inc. announced a massive recall of eight different kinds of its vehicles Thursday because of possibly faulty accelerator pedals.

Among the recalled vehicles are the popular RAV4, Camry, Matrix and Corolla models.

“Our investigation indicates that 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 company said in a news release.

It is not known how many vehicles in Canada are affected by the recall, said Sandy Di Felice, director of external affairs for Toyota Canada. But the company is recalling 2.3 million vehicles in the U.S. for the same reason.

The company said the problem is rare but sometimes happens when the pedal mechanism gets worn out. The accelerator then becomes “harder to depress, slower to return or, in the worst case, stuck in a partially depressed position,” the company said.

There have been five reported cases of the problem in Canada, Di Felice said.

The recalls have hurt Toyota’s reputation for market-leading quality and safety at a time when the automaker’s U.S. sales remain under pressure.

Toyota had previously maintained that there was no evidence of a mechanical fault linked to reports of unintended acceleration that prompted the recall of about 4.2 million vehicles last year.

The automaker said the recall announced on Thursday was separate from the earlier action, which Toyota said was aimed at addressing the risk that the accelerator pedals could become entrapped by loose or improperly installed floor mats.

“It isn’t a sudden onset issue,” Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said. “The owner would notice that the vehicle is slowly returning to idle.”

Toyota was not aware of any accidents or injuries related to the issue, Lyons said. Toyota filed the recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Thursday and the investigation was in an early stage, he said.

As recently as November, Bob Carter, Toyota’s U.S. brand chief, had said there was “no evidence” to support claims that the reported safety problems could be caused by anything other than loose floor mats interfering with the accelerator pedal.

NHTSA had received reports of 100 incidents at the time of Toyota’s first recall. Those reports included 17 crashes and five fatalities possibly linked to floor mats and accelerator pedals in Toyota cars and trucks.

Drivers who experience the problem should apply firm and steady pressure to the brake, and avoid pumping it repeatedly. Drivers should then get to a safe location and turn off the engine.

Customers can contact their Toyota dealership for more information about the recall or they can call 1-888-869-6828, or visit

The automaker in the U.S. said the recall was separate from an earlier recall also initiated in Canada and the U.S. last September, which Toyota said was aimed at addressing the risk that the accelerator pedals could become entrapped by loose or improperly installed floor mats.

—With files from AFP and Reuters

Recalled vehicles:

2009-2010 RAV4

2009-2010 Corolla

2009-2010 Matrix

2005-2010 Avalon

2007-2010 Camry

2010 Highlander

2007-2010 Tundra

2008-2010 Sequoia