Much of the controversy surrounding Toyota's latest recall of 2.3 million vehicles for defective accelerator pedal mechanisms has to do with the fact that the automaker didn't have a fix ready when the announcement was made last week. These assemblies can reportedly wear over time, causing the accelerator pedal to return to position slowly or even stick and cause unintended acceleration. Since there was no fix at the time of the announcement, Toyota halted sales of all eight models involved in the recall and decided to shut down the plants where they're assembled in early February to prevent inventory from backing up. This action occurred five days after the recall began and was reportedly done in consult with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since it's required to do so by law.

Well, the fix is in, so to speak, as Automotive News reports that affected Toyota plants are now gearing up to receive replacement accelerator pedal mechanisms. A Toyota spokesperson confirmed to the industry paper that the supplier responsible for manufacturing the parts, CTS Corporation, has finished developing a replacement mechanism and that some units have already been shipped to plants, though the amount and which plants received have them is unknown. The factories will likely still shut down from February 1–5 in order to keep inventory in check, but having the replacement assemblies now will help ensure they're in the pipeline when production of each model resumes.

Despite the good news for anyone considering the purchase of a Toyota model affected by the recall, Automotive News rightly points out that current owners may not benefit as quickly. There are 2.3 million vehicles in customers' driveways that require the replacement part, but AN sources say the plant that makes them has an annual capacity of just 2 million. Considering that Toyota's assembly plants also need to be supplied, we're wondering how Toyota will be able to fix each recalled vehicle in a timely manner.

On a related note, Toyota dealers are also reportedly getting instructions from the Mother Ship on how to answer questions related to the recall. AN editor James B. Treece reports that when asked if any accidents have been reported, dealers are encouraged to respond, "The number of accidents is still under investigation" without further confirmation. As Treece notes, the spin continues, as just a simple yes or no would suffice.



[Source: Automotive News - sub. req'd | Image: David McNew/Getty]

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