Toyota wants dealers to educate buyers on model features

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 25, 2010

Toyota Motor Corp. is asking its dealerships to properly inform car owners about the model's features so that they don´t make the mistake of regarding them as safety defects. Toyota cited the many instances that owners have paid no attention to warnings not to stack floor mats beneath accelerator pedals.

Jim Lentz, president of Toyota's US unit, asserted that Toyota has discussed concerns about the risk of unintended acceleration with up to 7,000 owners in the months that followed massive recalls over floor mats that could slip, jamming accelerators, and for sticky gas pedals.

Lentz said that in many cases, people didn´t know how automatic cruise control worked, didn't realize that air-conditioners could boost engine revving or failed to remove extra mats.

He estimates that even now, about 15% of the vehicles that Toyota had checked had stacked multiple floor mats. He explained that Toyota had instructed customers to take the floor mat out six months ago but that many haven´t removed it.

It can be recalled that 11 months ago, an off-duty California Highway Patrol officer and his family died in August 2009 when his Lexus ES350 sedan sped out of control near San Diego.

Since then, Toyota has recalled more than 10.8 million autos worldwide. Investigations conducted by Toyota and the government have listed the culprit to be a gas pedal trapped by the floor mat.

This led to the release of a warning in September 2009 that owners remove driver's side mats. This entire ordeal  the recalls and four Congressional hearings -- has hurt Toyota's reputation as a leader in vehicle quality.

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