The continuing debacle surrounding Toyotaâ€™s recall problems is still not over. FreeP.com is reporting that the automotive giant is adding 50,000 more cars to its ever-growing list of recalls, this time 50,000 2003-model year Sequoia SUVs are involved.
The Sequoia recall has been implemented to correct a traction control problem in which the controls switch on, slowing down the vehicle, said FreeP.com, which noted that, this year alone, Toyota has issued eight recalls. While this particular problem has not been associated with injury or crash reports, it does concern defects in the vehicleâ€™s electronic control sensors, explained FreeP.com. The problem is a â€œkey point of contentionâ€ in Toyotaâ€™s ongoing sudden acceleration scandal that has involved thousands of cases, said FreeP.
Earlier this year, Toyota told federal regulators that its recall issues were not related to a safety defect, said FreeP.com.
Toyota most recently recalled its new Lexus GX 460 SUV to fix a problem with its stability control system. The recall follows last weekâ€™s decision by Consumer Reports to give the Lexus GX 460 an â€œunacceptableâ€ rating. The recall also included the Land Cruiser Prado, which is sold overseas. A total of 34,000 vehicles were recalled worldwide, with 9,400 in the U.S. Toyota suspended sales of the Lexus GX 460.
That recall could not come at a worse time for Toyota. Since last fall it has recalled more than nine million cars worldwide because of faulty floor mats, sticking accelerator pedals, brake issues, and other problems. Just prior, the company issued a recall to fix a spare tire carrier cable on 600,000 Sienna minivans.
Before that, Toyota agreed to pay a record $16.375 million fine levied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for concealing information related to a January recall of 2.3 million vehicles for sticky accelerator pedals. Automakers are required to inform U.S. safety regulators within five days if they determine a safety defect exists; however, according to an April 5 letter from the NHTSA to Toyota, documents obtained from Toyota show that the company knew of the sticky pedal defect since at least September 29, 2009. Of note, the $16.375 million fine was the largest ever levied against an automaker by the U.S. government. In a statement, Toyota said it disagreed with the fine, but decided to pay it to avoid litigation with the government.
The NHTSA has been investigating the issues with Toyota for the past two years, having received 68 complaints last year from Sequoia owners over unexpected deceleration issues, said FreeP.com, noting that the problems often occurred in traffic.
According to Toyota, the issue was related to both a programming flaw in the vehicleâ€™s skid-control system and rear wheel corrosion, wrote FreeP.com. The skid-control defect resulted in the system misinterpreting the steering wheel position when the car was moving at lower speeds, which would then engage the system during acceleration; the corrosion caused the traction control to engage. Both defects caused the truck to slow down unexpectedly, noted FreeP.com.