• Feb 3rd 2010 at 11:35AM
  • 75
Appearing before a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation this morning, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that Toyota owners should "stop driving" their recalled vehicles until they're fixed.
"We need to fix the problem so people don't have to worry about disengaging the engine or slamming the brakes on or put it in neutral...If anybody owns [one] of these vehicles, stop driving it and take it to a Toyota dealer."
Sage advice or a precursor to panic? It's hard to say, though we've received emails from a number of Toyota customers who own recalled vehicles asking what they should do. LaHood has given an answer, and while it may seem overkill to some, the old adage "better safe than sorry" springs to mind. That said, letting your recalled Toyota sit unused may not be an option for some people who only own one vehicle, and LaHood's comment may create unnecessary fear for those owners.

We've been told that parts to fix the recalled vehicles are already being shipped to Toyota dealers around the country, and after a couple days of training they'll be ready to start fixing vehicles by this weekend at the latest. So, if owners of an affected vehicle heed LaHood's advice, they should only be without wheels for a few days or so, assuming their local Toyota dealer can handle the influx of recalled vehicles awaiting the fix.

UPDATE: According to a report by the AP, LaHood has retracted his statement calling for drivers of affected Toyotas to stop driving their cars, saying "What I said in there was obviously a misstatement." Mr. LaHood, a suggestion: Choose future declarations very carefully.

UPDATE: Toyota has released a statement about LaHood's remark and retraction, which you can read after the jump.

[Source: Bloomberg via GM Inside News | Image: Jonathan Ernst/Getty]
Show full PR text
Toyota Statement on Comments by Transportation Secretary LaHood on Feb. 3, 2010
We appreciate Secretary LaHood's clarification of his remarks today about Toyota's recall for sticking accelerator pedals. We want to make sure our customers understand that this situation is rare and generally does not occur suddenly. In the rare instances where it does it occur, the vehicle can be controlled with firm and steady application of the brakes.
Our message to Toyota owners is this – if you experience any issues with your accelerator pedal, please contact your dealer without delay. If you are not experiencing any issues with your pedal, we are confident that your vehicle is safe to drive.
Nothing is more important to Toyota than the safety and reliability of the vehicles our customers drive. Our entire organization of 172,000 North American employees and dealership personnel is working around the clock to fix the accelerator pedals for our customers.

Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      This guy LaHood is an idiot and should be swept out the door with Obama and the rest of those Marxist bastards.

      14 cases out of 3,000,000 cars, and you should park it? IDIOT!

        • 5 Years Ago
        I share similar view. While I am NOT for putting peoples lives in danger, Mr.LaHood's statement is overly unnecessary. As long as people pay attention and are aware of the potential sign, no need to park their car.

        What the government should be doing is prompting/educating the effected owners what do to in case of emergency, and the owners also need to do their homework and be aware of it. This would be a more effective remedy rather than telling people to put a hold on their lives.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If you drive a Toyota, or live near someone who does, skip work until all Toyota's in your area are repaired and stay indoors. Do not, by any means, go outside. The chances of a Toyota hurting you is much too high.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Sounds like a good episode of South Park!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Of course he did. This has become one big political mess and will only get more so as time goes on.
      • 5 Years Ago
      futurama, it has already been scientifically (um Top Gear) proven that Kia owners are the worst drivers on the road. Not Toyota drivers.

      In the end, out of the folks who really don't have problems with Toyota's and who have been burnt by American car makers, will still continue to own and buy Toyota's. All this attempted bad PR could actually backfire. If Toyota lowers prices to get customers back in, I think people will still buy them. Money talks and BS walks. Toyota and Honda have been known to be some of the cheapest true cost to own cars for many years now. A recall isn't going to change that.

      I used to actually be a hard core Ford guy. 3.8l Taurus had head gasket problems. Didn't find about about a TSB until the car was gone, but the dealers loved to charge for everything under the sun on overheating problems. 3.0 Taurus gear shifter got jammed all the time. Traded in at low mileage for a Camry. Camry had zero problems. Traded for a Subie. Subie currently has zero problems. Many other folks who changed from domestic to imports have very similar stories. Domestics just failed them. Period.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you in UK?

        I am in US. California to be precisely. Here.. Corollas and Camry are the worst offenders!
      • 5 Years Ago

      We are all so fortunate to be alive today.
      When you are old and gray you will be able to tell your grandkids that you were there in the magical four month "US Great Awakening" period when the world woke up from a horrible trance in which everyone believed in:
      - Man-Made Global Warming
      - Toyota=Quality
      - The New York Times
      - Obama

        • 5 Years Ago
        John, your ignorance is mind-blowing.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Paul, The only reason to be embarrassed is that you are not awake yet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      LaHood is an effin idiot too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Then maybe he can design a new throttle for Toyota. It's not like he could do any worse...
      • 5 Years Ago
      The term "Piling On" comes to mind.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's no good. Also, how are you suppose to drive the car to the dealership for the recall repair if you cannot drive?

      Toyota's reputation is a giant pinata and everyone is taking their best shot. We have now reached Congressional hearings. Later SEC will investigate any insider trading by execs if they sold before the big recall disclosure. Lawyers are already circling the carcass....

      Sit back and watch the media circus.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just think, if only those millions of people driving on Firestone tires years ago, hadn't driven their vehicles to a tire store to replace their dangerous tires, they might have lived.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This isn't the first safety recall. I'm sure Toyota will tow the car to the dealer if you insist or maybe drive it there for you. The liability of refusing to do so is truly enormous.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Forgot to add:

        Check out LaHood's quote:
        ""...If anybody owns [one] of these vehicles, stop driving it and take it to a Toyota dealer." "

        LOL....does he expect everyone to tow it to the dealer? Otherwise how else are you suppose to stop drive it AND take it to the dealer?
      • 5 Years Ago
      toyota/lexus owners should stop driving toyota/lexus for fellow citizen. it is dangerous.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've own'd my share of cars, mostly Ford products, and had a few recall notifications. Some I remember, were a Focus, I think, problem with CV boot covers deteriorating do to road salts mostly in snow states and Canada, it didn't involve mine. Another was a door latch reinforcement which I had taken care of, don't remember which Ford product I had for that one.. And the Taurus cruise control...which only involved a certain range of models and VIN numbers...mine wasn't involved.

      There was the Thunderbird "unintended acceleration" recall, a fellow employee had that happen to his T-Bird. Some T-Birds also had a problem with a pressurized radiator cap causing boil over at altitudes. Mine got fixed. I seem to remember a separate problem with the Focus gas pedal return above a certain speed, but I'm not sure.

      The first one I really remember is the Audi "unintended acceleration" That ruined their sales in the US. This is a very interesting article on the Audi recall, including their "floor mat defense."http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/hyper/issues/1987/05/wathen.html

      LaHood is definitely pushing the Panic Button, and maybe he is punishing Toyota for what he considers their slow action and previous knowledge.
      • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago

        I look forward to seeing multiple home-made signs stapled to utility
        poles reading:


        I buy Toyotas for CASH!

        Call BR-549
      • 5 Years Ago
      i suspect he is trying to cover his own arse.

      there is no way that such a low probability event merits such a response.

      we wouldn't cross the street if were to consistently behave in such a conservative fashion.
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