Toyota Taken to the Mat

Gary S. Vasilash

At this point it is still an advisory, not a recall. That will happen when a fix is determined. In the meantime, there are driver’s side mats to be removed. Removed from:

· 2007 – 2010 Camry

· 2005 – 2010 AvalonToyota floor mats

· 2004 – 2009 Prius

· 2005 – 2010 Tacoma

· 2007 – 2010 Tundra

· 2007 – 2010 ES350

· 2006 – 2010 IS250 and IS350

That, to put it mildly, is one hell of a list. Toyota spokespeople estimate on the order of 3.8-million vehicles. The biggest advisory, action, what-have-you in Toyota’s history. A huge number of vehicles. And it is Toyota.

While some people may have a feeling of glee, skip it. There are lives at stake here. Accelerator pedals can become stuck. People can lose control of their cars and trucks. And people can die.

According to Toyota, it comes down to three things: the design of the mats, the design of the accelerator, and the steps required to shut off the engine of those with push-button ignition. The recommendation of the moment is to simply remove the driver’s side mats in those vehicles. Certainly, this is not going to be a problem that will have a quick fix, as the mat setup in a Camry isn’t what it is in a Prius which is different than what is in a Tundra.

Sometimes people wonder why it tends to take so long for vehicle product development when things like iPods and Maytags come rolling out on a comparatively fast cycle. When you have to take even the safety implications of floor mats into account, imagine how certain you have to be about how well the suspension system will hold up and whether the electrical system will assure airbag deployment even though the radio is cranked, the HVAC system is blasting, the heated seats are activated. . . .

No small feat for any company.