In a surprising move that could have a significant impact on new car shoppers, Toyota has announced that it will be suspending sales of eight vehicles that form its core lineup. The Japanese car company says that it has taken the dramatic move in relation to the unintended acceleration fiasco which has seen it so far recall 2.3 million vehicles in the month of January alone.
According to Toyota, production plants will be also be halted while investigations into the exact nature of the problem that has been causing this latest round of sticky accelerator pedals. The brand claims that the most recent issue is unrelated to the floor mat problem which saw almost four million cars, trucks and crossovers undergo another unintended acceleration recall in 2009. The most recent evidence points to actual issues with the accelerator mechanism itself, which causes the pedal to become incapable of automatically returning to the idle position after it has been depressed.
The affected vehicles are as follows: the 2009-2010 Toyota RAV4, 2009-2010 Toyota Corolla, 2009-2010 Toyota Matrix, 2005-2010 Toyota Avalon, 2010 Toyota Highlander, 2007-2010 Toyota Tundra, 2008-2010 Toyota Sequoia and certain 2007-2010 Toyota Camry models. No Lexus or Scion models have become part of the embargo at this time, although there are no guarantees that the scope of the sales ban won't expand as time goes on.
Toyota says that both the sales halt and the production shut down have been done in order to 'ensure the safety of customers' as well as restore consumer confidence in the brand. While keeping dangerously defective automobiles off of the streets will certainly accomplish the former, the latter will likely be much more difficult given that this most recent dark cloud is one of many to have hovered over the brand during the course of the past year. As more and more customers walk into Toyota showrooms only to be told that while they may look at the models that are on display, they won't actually be able to purchase the majority of the automaker's lineup it will be difficult to manage the negative consumer reaction.
Anyone currently shopping for a vehicle would do well to keep in mind Toyota's current sales halt and if not remove them from the list of potential purchases, at least move them down to a lower position. For those who need a car in a hurry, Toyota will most likely have to be avoided entirely, as the company has yet to give any clear indication of when it would be able to resume sales of the restricted models.