Toyota made big headlines
recently because of sliding floor mats and then sticky gas pedals – both resulting in unintended acceleration. Well, let's call today's recall announcement unintended deceleration. According to The Detroit News, Toyota is preparing to recall 50,000 of its full-size model year 2003 Sequoias.

According to the daily, there have been 160 reports of "inappropriate activation of the electronic stability control or the traction control system." Which is a fancy way of saying the vehicles suddenly seem to slow down on their own. Here's what the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is saying:
"During the activation of either system, the driver loses throttle control and one of more brakes may apply, causing the vehicle to slow suddenly. During these activation events, the brake lights are not illuminated to signal to following traffic that the vehicle is slowing."
For its part, Toyota admits that:
"...the VSC system could, in limited situations, activate at low speed (approximately 9 mph) for a few seconds after acceleration from a stopped position and, as a result, the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects. There have been no reported injuries or accidents as a result of this condition."
Obviously, if your vehicle suddenly slows unexpectedly while under acceleration without warning (and without brake lights!), that's an issue. For its part, Toyota initially admitted it was a problem with the traction control system (not the stability control), but for some reason it didn't feel a recall was necessary. However, that was sixteen months ago, before the Japanese giant's woes began in earnest. Today, they're going to fix the issue. Toyota would do well to remember their Nixon: it's not the crime, it's the cover up. Official press release available after the jump.

[Source: The Detroit News]
Show full PR text

Toyota Announces Voluntary Recall on 2003 Model-Year Sequoia to Upgrade Program Logic in Vehicle Stability Control System

TORRANCE, Calif., April 28, 2010 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today announced it will conduct a voluntary safety recall on approximately 50,000 early-2003 Model-Year Toyota Sequoia sport utility vehicles to upgrade program logic in its Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system.

The VSC system can help control a loss of traction in turns as a result of front or rear tire slippage during cornering. In vehicles without the upgrade, the VSC system could, in limited situations, activate at low speed (approximately 9 mph) for a few seconds after acceleration from a stopped position and, as a result, the vehicle may not accelerate as quickly as the driver expects. There have been no reported injuries or accidents as a result of this condition.

Toyota instituted a running production change during the 2003 model year and published a Technical Service Bulletin to address this issue when it was first identified in fall 2003. Since that time, Toyota has been responding to individual owner concerns by replacing the Skid Control Engine Control Unit (ECU) in Sequoias impacted by this condition. Of the approximately 50,000 vehicles included in this recall, approximately half have already been serviced under warranty.

Steve St. Angelo, Toyota chief quality officer for North America, said: "Toyota is committed to investigating customer complaints more aggressively and to responding quickly to issues we identify in our vehicles. As a result, we are voluntarily launching this recall to ensure that as many 2003 Sequoias as possible are serviced to the full satisfaction of our customers."

Starting in late May, Toyota will begin mailing letters to all 2003 Model-Year Sequoia owners included in this recall, including owners of vehicles that have been previously serviced. If a customer has previously paid to replace the Skid Control ECU for this specific condition prior to receiving a letter, the customer should mail a copy of their repair order, to the following address for reimbursement consideration: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Toyota Customer Experience, WC 10, 19001 South Western Avenue, Torrance, CA 90509.

Detailed information and answers to questions are available to customers at www.toyota.com/recall and at the Toyota Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.