(Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp said on Monday it had begun shipping replacement parts to dealers to repair some 4.5 million vehicles equipped with faulty accelerators in North America and Europe.
The steps were part of Toyota’s response to a sweeping safety recall that has hurt its reputation and sales in key markets.
Following are key facts about Toyota’s safety recalls and the automaker’s response:
* Toyota is recalling 2.3 million vehicles in the United States because of the risk that the accelerator pedal could stick. The vehicles covered by the recall include the RAV4, Corolla, Matrix, Avalon, Camry, Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia. Consumers can check to see if their vehicle is covered by the recall at www.toyota.com/recall.
* Another 1.8 million Toyota vehicles in Europe, 270,000 in Canada and over 100,000 in U.S. dealer inventory are also at risk of developing a sticky accelerator and in line for repair, Toyota and industry sources say.
* Toyota dealers will begin receiving a part to fix the defective accelerators this week. The replacement part — a steel reinforcement bar — is designed to reduce friction in the accelerator and prevent sticking. U.S. consumers who have their vehicle repaired will be eligible to have a whole new accelerator installed when those parts are available.
* The repair job on the defective accelerators is expected to take less than an hour. The cost will be covered by Toyota. Dealers have said they expect to bill almost $100 per repair to the automaker. Many U.S. dealers said they were extending operating hours or would run repair shops overnight to fix defective vehicles once the fix arrives.
* In a separate safety action, Toyota is recalling nearly 5 million vehicles in the United States because of the risk that the accelerator pedal could become trapped by the floormat, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That recall covers late model versions of the Camry, Avalon, Prius, Tacoma, Tundra, Highlander, Corolla, Venza and Matrix. The Lexus ES350, IS250 and IS350 are also covered. Some vehicles are covered by both the floormat and accelerator recalls.
* Toyota has started to notify owners affected by the second recall that they can have their accelerator pedal shortened at a dealership. In addition, Toyota has said it will install a new brake override system on some recalled models. Owners who opt to do so can also have a new brake pedal installed sometime after April 2010.
* NHTSA says it has confirmed that five people — in two separate accidents — died in Toyota vehicles because the accelerator was trapped by a floormat. The U.S. regulatory agency said it has not confirmed any injuries or deaths because of the sticky accelerator issue.
* Safety Research and Strategies, a Massachusetts-based consultancy, says it has counted 2,262 incidents of apparent unintended acceleration in Toyota vehicles since 1999. That total includes 815 crashes, 341 cases of injury and 19 deaths, according to the firm.
Reporting by Kevin Krolicki; editing by Richard Chang