Did Toyota Delay Recall ?

Toyota is being taken to task for delaying the recall of vehicles subject to sudden acceleration. Amid reports that Toyota is going to recall its highly successful hybrid, the Prius, for brake problems, there are serious questions being raised as whether the automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration responded quickly enough to reports of sudden acceleration in some of its other models.
Insurer State Farm has revealed that it notified NHTSA in late 2007 that it was seeing an increase in sudden acceleration trends with other Toyota and Lexus automobiles. State Farm said it received numerous inquiries about alleged unwanted acceleration problems in Toyota and Lexus vehicles in recent years.
Toyota has undergone several investigations about such concerns starting in 2004, when complaints were lodged about sudden acceleration in the 2002 and 2003 Toyota Camry and Lexus ES models. NHTSA opened a file on Toyota in 2007 to look into acceleration issues on Lexus models, but closed it seven months later.
It wasn’t until after the death of a California state policeman and his family in a Lexus incident that that Toyota issued recalls. The incident was recorded on a very disturbing 911 tape. If you have not heard the call, it can be located by Googling.
Since the incident, Toyota has recalled 5.2 million Toyota and Lexus models in the U.S. for floor mat issues, and 2.5 million in January over sticky gas pedals.
Congress is also studying Toyota’s and NHTSA’s reactions. On Wednesday, the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform is holding a hearing on the gas pedal issues. On Feb. 25, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee is holding a hearing on whether Toyota and NHTSA acted swiftly enough.
Japanese newspapers reported Sunday that Toyota would soon announce a recall to deal with Prius brake problems. In a letter to U.S. dealers over the weekend, Toyota said it will inform them of the fix to the Prius problem this week.

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