New documents released last week to Congress and the Transportation Department by Toyota show the degree to which Toyota delayed safety recalls while knowing of the problems affecting their models. In addition to the stalling of car manufacturer, the documents also raise questions about why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did not pressure the company to act sooner.
It has become customary to allow automakers to recall cars voluntarily rather than order safety measure, which can take years of investigation, many lawmakers in Washington feel the federal government may share in the blame for the Toyota recall delay.
Documents show that Toyota had ample knowledge about incidents involving sticking floor pedals long before the recall in January. They also show that the company has treated American consumers differently than those in Europe and Canada. In fall of 2009, Toyota issued a safety advisory asking consumer to remove possible defective floor mats from their vehicles in the United States. In Europe, Toyota informed dealers of the possibility of faulty accelerators and engine surges and how to fix the problem. While in Canada, they recalled more than 378,000 vehicles with possible defective floor mats. The chronology of the documents indicate that Toyota knew about the acceleration pedals as far back as April of 2009.