Feds say Toyota misled public on recall review

WASHINGTON --- Toyota Motor Corp. released misleading information about an investigation into problems with stuck gas pedals that led to a massive Toyota recall, the government said Wednesday, stressing that the issue is still under review by federal safety regulators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it is still investigating the case and meeting with Toyota to hear about the company's plan to redesign the vehicles and fix "this very dangerous problem."

Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles last month over problems with gas pedals that got stuck on floor mats and told owners to remove driver's side floor mats and not replace them until the automaker had determined a fix.

Toyota said Monday that NHTSA had confirmed "that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver's floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured."

NHTSA said that is inaccurate and that the government is investigating possible causes of the acceleration problem. Removing the floor mats is "simply an interim measure" and "does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles involving the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats, which is related to accelerator and floor pan design."

"The matter is not closed until Toyota has effectively addressed the defect by providing a suitable vehicle-based solution," NHTSA said in the statement, which it said was issued to correct "inaccurate and misleading information" from the automaker.

Toyota spokesman John Hanson said "it was never our intention to mislead or provide inaccurate information. Toyota agrees with NHTSA's position that the removal of the floor mats is an interim measure and that further action is required. We continue to discuss an appropriate vehicle remedy or remedies."

The recall was prompted by a fatal high-speed crash in August involving a 2009 Lexus ES350 near San Diego, Calif. Family members made a frantic 911 call from the Lexus and told a dispatcher the accelerator was stuck and that they couldn't stop the vehicle.

RECALLED MODELS

- 2007-10 Toyota Camry

- 2005-10 Toyota Avalon

- 2004-09 Toyota Prius

- 2005-10 Tacoma

- 2007-10 Toyota Tundra

- 2007-10 Lexus ES350

- 2006-10 Lexus IS250/IS350

More