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Most of the vehicles Toyota has recalled as a result of the automakers issues with unintended acceleration span only the past few years, but there have been many reports that Toyota's unwanted thrust issues may have gone back to 2004 or even earlier. Automotive News reports that the automaker appears to have had similar issues as far back as 1999, at least in the UK. According to the trade publication, Toyota recalled 10,919 Lexus IS200 models built between March 1999 and July 2000 for a floor mat issue that could lead to sudden acceleration. Now federal investigators are wondering why Toyota didn't spread their recall over to the U.S.

Information about the UK recall was mentioned yesterday during congressional hearings with the Japanese automaker, and Toyota U.S.A. President Jim Lentz replied to questioning about the earlier floor mat issue saying "we didn't do a very good job of sharing information across the globe." Massachusetts congressman Ed Markey (D) contends that instead of tackling the issue in the states, Toyota instead "deployed lawyers and lobbyists and convinced the Department of Transportation that this was a small floor mat issue and not something more serious."

While news of a much earlier recall in the UK for the same issue that has allegedly lead to 19 or more deaths in the U.S. has some lawmakers up in arms, Toyota insists that the floor mats from the IS200 recall were made in England and the design was not used here in the States. If the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that Toyota failed to initiate a recall after it learned of a defect, the company could face a fine of $16.4 million. Toyota has until March 18 to provide "a chronology of all events that occurred in foreign countries with regard to interference between the accelerator pedal and the driver's side floor mat in vehicles that are identical or substantially similar to any of the recalled U.S. vehicles."

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[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota needs to scrap their entire lineup and start over with a new MR2.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is just digusting. The fact that Toyota "deployed lawyers and lobbyists" to convince the DOT that the problem isn't serious already indicates just how seriously Toyota considers the safety of their customers, which is not at all. It's a very dangerous mindset to either blindly assume full confidence and infallibility in your product to waive off such an issue, or to throw lobbyists at the issue to quietly subdue government and public attention, almost as if by habit or as a defense mechanism.

      But hey, Toyota, it's all right, that $100 million you saved by avoiding recalls will easily cover this penalty should your lawyers and lobbyists fail your this time.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Congress might want to look into why the nhtsa were so easily misled (i.e. bought off) compared to their British counterparts.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think what would end this media circus is if Toyota just pack up and leave. Lay-off all 172,000 Americans employed by their manufacturing plants, parts, suppliers and dealers. GM, Ford, and Fiat can pick-up up the slack, and hire them all back.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wow, this is spiraling out of control!!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I totally agree, way out of control. Next people are going to be saying that this is all a plot by Toyota to kill them yanks!
      • 5 Years Ago
      What gets me is that there is no jail time for anyone being talked about. I mean If I were to kill somebody I go to jail. Toyota has MANY issues known globally that they tried to avoid addressing in the US because they so easily worked themselves around the NHSTA. They knew about their issues and did not want to fess up. To me that means going to jail. $16.4 goes to the government which is nothing to the government OR Toyota. As for the NHSTA they need to do their job better and find some people with integrity who are willing to tell even the rich snobs from Toyota to go screw themselves, spend some money, and do things right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My mom at one point owned a 1997 Toyota Previa, which despite its odd shape lasted her almost ten years after she got it new.

      Looking back at it now, there was always a small issue of the car accelerating out of nowhere at times, not often, but it did happen. It would go away after she would tap the breaks, but it was still somewhat jarring.

      If anyone here has had the fortune of riding in a smooth as silk Toyota Previa with the infernally powerful supercharger option you would know that the slightest attempt in acceleration would make the van rev like crazy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      wow...This is like a freight train with no brakes(no pun intended)
      • 5 Years Ago
      More Toyota news....I think AB should take a few days off on the Toyota coverage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't believe Autoblog didn't realize this utter obviousness...even if they mirror-image the floor layout the pedals wouldn't end up in the same place as the LHD version because your accelerator is still to the right of your brake pedal, etc.
      • 5 Years Ago
      And you're a bigot. Toyota's have the reputation of reliability for a reason... unfortunately that reason started to be less and less deserved a few years ago.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The reason they weren't recalled in the US at that time was because the IS model was not sold in the US at that time. Only 10k models were recalled and those built within a specific period. This new investigation would be a waste of time.
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