Toyota issues stop-sales order on models with seat heaters due to possible fire risk

Article by Anita Panait, on February 1, 2014

Toyota Motor Corp. has told its dealers in North America to stop selling models fitted with seat heaters made since August 2012 after the carmakers were alerted by safety officials in South Korea that the material failed to meet fire retardation standards also used in the United States.

Affected models include certain 2013 and 2014 Camry sedan, Camry hybrid, Avalon sedan, Avalon hybrid, Corolla subcompact, Sienna minivan and Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks equipped with seat heaters sold since August 2012.

Toyota changed its fabric supplier, a Toyota spokesman said. While the models are among Toyota’s most popular cars and light trucks in the US, only around 8 percent of 2013-2014 Toyota vehicles in the country have heated seats, according to Kelly Blue Book figures.

However, all Toyota Avalons sold in the US have heated seats, Kelly Blue Book said.

According to a document Toyota distributed to dealers and obtained by Automotive News, around 36,000 vehicles in US dealer stocks are subject to the stop sale order: 13,850 Avalon sedan models (2013 and 2014), and 10,100 Sienna minivans (2013 and 2014).

Toyota said that some vehicles in transit to dealerships may also be covered by the stop sale order. Toyota builds the Avalon in the US and some of them are exported to Korea. According to Toyota, it has alerted National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the seating problem, which may lead to a recall depending on the decision of the safety agency.

Topics: toyota

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