Lexus SUVs Recall For Pedal-Entrapment Defect

Toyota has run into another pedal-entrapment issue, prompting a Lexus SUV recall for its 2010 RX 350 and RX 450 H models, over a potential serious safety issue involving the floor mat, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If the mat traps the gas pedal, the vehicle could speed out of control.

Toyota said the problem affects 154,000 vehicles.

Safety regulators also warned the automaker that it might face another investigation as to whether the company “met its obligation to notify the agency and conduct a recall in a timely manner.” Previously, Toyota paid record federal fines of nearly $50 million for failing to promptly inform regulators of defects in its vehicles and for delaying recalls.

The latest safety administration move follows a massive Toyota recall of 4.4 million vehicles sold in the United States in late 2009 to resolve concerns that floor mats in cars and trucks could cause gas pedals to become stuck, leading to uncontrollable acceleration.

That recall was later expanded to cover 14 models of Toyota and Lexus vehicles, including various years of Camrys, Priuses and Tundra pickups, but not the RX model of SUVs.

“In our view, the data available at the time didn’t warrant the inclusion of this model,” Toyota spokesman Brian Lyons said Friday. “If NHTSA decides to open an investigation, we’ll certainly cooperate with its efforts.”

Lyons noted that of the 6.9 million Toyota vehicles that had been recalled for problematic floor mats before Friday, 85% had been brought back and fixed.

The original recall came after a San Diego man and three passengers were killed in a high-speed crash of a Lexus ES sedan. Before the crash, the driver called 911 to report that the gas pedal was stuck and that the car was going 120 mph.

Toyota has received complaints from consumers about floor mat entrapment since 2004.

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