Just days after widening its recall of models due to a safety issue relating to unintended acceleration in models ranging from the Camry to the Prius, Toyota motor company has now ordered that the sales of eight of its most popular models be stopped at all North American dealerships. The cost to the manufacturer in lost sales could easily total into the billions of dollars.
Not only are vehicles ranging from the Sequoia to the Tundra to the Corolla to the Camry not to be sold, the automaker has also halted any further manufacture of these vehicles in North American factories. Apparently the floor component that can cause the gas pedal to stick was only installed in vehicles assembled in North America so most Scion and Lexus (barring the Camry based ES) models built in Japan have not been affected.
Models included in the sales freeze are both new and used units and include the 2009 to 2010 RAV4, 2009 to 2010 Corolla, 2009 to 2010 Matrix, 2005 to 2010 Avalon, 2007 to 2010 Tundra, 2010 Highlander, and 2008 to 2010 Sequoia. All North American built Camry models are also included in the sales freeze meaning up to 75% of many Toyota dealers new car sales could be affected.
The other major issue that is going to severely hurt Toyota with this unprecedented sales and manufacturing freeze is that a fix for the problem has not yet been devised. Toyota calculates that it will be at least three to four weeks before they can ship out replacement parts to dealers and factories to help fix the problem.
Some industry analysts and safety experts also believe the problem may be further reaching than just a poorly designed piece of floorboarding that is causing the unintended acceleration. Other issues like electronics relating to Toyota’s push button start system to sticking floormats are also considered to be culprits that have contributed to the issue.
The safety problem came to national attention last year when an off-duty Police Officer in San Diego, California had his Lexus ES350 accelerate out of control killing his entire family. It is estimated that 19 people have died and hundreds have been injured in incidents relating to this unintended acceleration issue over the last decade. Toyota is facing hundreds of lawsuits relating to these wrongful death and injury issues.
In the past other manufacturers have had to put sales and manufacturing freezes on vehicles but these problems usually had clear cut fixes and lasted only a few days. With this sales and manufacturing freeze looking to last a month it looks like this will severely be cutting into Toyota’s bottom line, not to mention its once sterling reputation for quality.
Los Angeles Times