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CR: 41 Percent Of Acceleration Complaints Involve Toyotas

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Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA

Loose all-weather floor mat jams accelerator pedal. Photo: NHTSA

Whether or not so-called "sudden acceleration" problems involve issues with floor mats, operator confusion over pedals, or actual vehicle defects, several automakers rank far above others in terms of complaints made to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Toyota has many more complaints racked up than other automakers, when looking at 2008 model-year vehicles, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports. As reported by the Consumer Reports car blog, Toyota had 41 percent of all unintended-acceleration complaints (52 in all) for 2008 model-year vehicles, while Ford has 28 percent of all complaints (36 in all). That's well above the 16-percent U.S. market share that each of the automakers held, averaging 2007 and 2008.

Chrysler was third, with 11 complaints determined by CR to be related to unintended acceleration; but that's relative to a 12-percent average market share.

Consumer Reports looked at 5,916 complaint reports and identified 166 cases of unintended acceleration in which the driver had trouble controlling the vehicle.

General Motors vehicles ranked especially low, according to CR, with a relative risk of just one in 500,000, while Honda and Nissan ranked even lower, with four and two percent of overall complaints, respectively. Based on the organization's analysis, the risk in Toyotas is about one in 50,000 of encountering the issue.

2009 lexus es350

2009 lexus es350

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After a number of complaints of stuck accelerator pedals, along with one California crash, killing four, involving a 2009 Lexus ES 350, Toyota and the federal government had issued warnings to remove any driver's side floor mats to help prevent the throttle pedal from sticking or jamming. Most recently, Toyota announced that it would recall 3.8 million vehicles to replace the accelerator pedal with a shorter design that eliminates the possibility of becoming entrapped by the floor mat.

The vehicles affected are:

  • 2004-2009 Toyota Prius (hatchback)
  • 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon (sedan)
  • 2005-2010 Toyota Tacoma (pickup truck)
  • 2006-2010 Lexus IS250 and IS350 (sedan)
  • 2007-2010 Toyota Camry (sedan)
  • 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra (pickup truck)
  • 2007-2010 Lexus ES350 (sedan)

And what do you do if you find your accelerator pedal stuck? Consumer Reports also last month posted this useful video clip.

[Consumer Reports]

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Comments (7)
  1. This is exciting. Here I thought I avoided sudden death by just not owning a Toyota but so much for that.

  2. Thanks for the tips. Now why did car companies stop using the double jointed gas pedals? Wouldn't those make more sense?

  3. Answer to the last Q in the article: "What do you do?"
    Step on the brakes as hard as you can and keep your foot on them. No car's engine can out-accelerate fully applied brakes.
    And, if the car doesn't have an ignition key but a start button, press & hold the starter button in for at least three seconds. That will kill the engine.

  4. I always regarded Toyota as maker of safe and reliable cars. By these results it seems I have been wrong...

  5. I own a BMW, my floor mat interferes with braking. After that incident I removed it totally.

  6. 'Reports of sudden unintended acceleration in Toyota Avalon without floor mats'
    January 18, 2010 by Tim Beissmann

  7. I am annoyed to say the least with Toyota's lack of customer service. I had a defective radio in my 2008 Camry Solara. It would intermittently black out. It was replaced with a defective, scratched used radio. When I phoned Toyota's customer service I was put on hold for a very long time, then when finally getting a representative was told my complaint would be filed? I wanted my complaint addressed and action taken, not "filed" and forgotten. After asking for a manager I was put on hold for a very long time then told that the individual I needed to speak to, Naomi Torres, had gone home for the day and that every other manager was in a meeting (a manager's meeting that involved everyone except Ms.Torres I guess). After my third call I reached Naomi Torres who essentially told me I could take this matter to arbitration and when I responded that I would not accept arbitration she told me "Toyota will not replace your radio". I bought a new Toyota and in that price, paid for a new radio, my car is in new condition with only 6200 miles on it with no wear and I expected Toyota to stand behind their product and replace the radio with what I paid for, but that is apparently not their policy! This is the first and last time I will buy a Toyota. Based on this poor customer service, I can certainly understand the frustration of all those individuals involved in the accelerator recall.

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