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 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."
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]
Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc.