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Toyota Recalls Millions of Autos

In another blow to its quality image, Toyota Motor announced Thursday a second huge recall of vehicles for another problem that could cause the throttle to stick.

The latest recall involves 2.3 million Toyota-brand cars and trucks dating back to some 2005 models. Toyota's Lexus and Scion brands are not involved in the recall.

That follows a recent recall of 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles because floor mats could jam the gas pedal down. About 1.7 million are on both lists.

Toyota says the problem is a fault in some pedal assemblies, but it hasn't figured out how to fix it. It did not advise owners to stop using the cars, but says, should the pedal stick, put steady pressure on the brake, pull over, shut off the engine and call a dealer - who for now could not fix it.

"This situation is slowly spiraling out of control. As a company with a reputation for steadiness, these must be uncomfortable days for Toyota," says James Bell, analyst at the Kelley Blue Book car-shopping service.

Toyota also recalled 110,000 Tundra pickups in November because spare tires might fall off.

The latest problem "is a tough one. There'll be no (engine control computer) error code for this," says Dan Edmunds, an engineer and head of vehicle testing at shopping site edmunds.com. "If you release the pedal and it stays down, the computer thinks you still have the pedal pushed down."

He says that drivers of runaway cars can switch off the engine but must be careful not to turn the key too far, because that would lock the steering wheel.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received complaints about Toyota vehicles accelerating.

One came from a person in Chapel Hill, N.C., not named by NHTSA, who was test-driving a RAV4 with a car salesman when the car took off.

Another driver reported slamming into a palm tree in Boca Raton, Fla., after a Toyota throttle would not close.

The recalls will permanently damage Toyota, believes Peter DeLorenzo, editor of AutoExtremist.com: "The days of Toyota being automatically successful with everything it touches are well and truly over."

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