The investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has unearthed records showing that Toyota had recalled its Venza crossover model on December 16 in Canada over problems with the all-weather floor mats entrapping the accelerator pedal.
The detail that got the attention of the US government officials is the six-week delay made evident by the documents that show that on January 27, Toyota issued a similar recall in the US. Under the law, carmakers have to report recalls of any foreign recalls covering vehicles similar to those sold in the US.
Back then, when Toyota reported the Canadian Venza recall on December 16, US officials were told no US recall is necessary since the all-weather floor mats that caused the problem in Canada were not sold in the US. Six weeks later, Toyota reversed its decision and recalled US Venzas on January 27.
Actually, automakers have exactly five business days after finding a potential defect in one of its models to inform the government. Already, the NHTSA has proposed a $16.4 million fine on Toyota for failing to recall 2.3 million vehicles in a timely manner.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, the agency said that it will continue to investigate the timeliness of Toyota's pedal entrapment recall.