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Toyota extends brake failsafe fix to more models

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Toyota extends brake failsafe fix to more models

Device to be available for Tacoma, Venza, other models

Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Toyota Motor Corp., struggling to allay customers' concerns about the safety of their vehicles, announced Monday that it would install a brake override system in more models to ensure that drivers will be able to bring them to a halt.

Toyota announced in November that it would install a failsafe brake override feature in more than 5 million vehicles recalled in the United States for acceleration-related issues and eventually introduce it on all new models.

The electronic system, first introduced by German luxury brands a few years ago, automatically cuts engine power if the brake and the accelerator pedals are applied simultaneously.

"Expansion of this brake override feature underscores Toyota's commitment to building the safest and most reliable vehicles on the road, as we have for 50 years, and to ensuring that our customers have complete confidence in the vehicles they drive," said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.

Toyota made the announcement as Lentz and other senior executives prepare for two congressional hearings this week on the company's recall of around 8.5 million vehicles worldwide -- more than 6 million in the U.S. alone -- primarily for issues related to unintended acceleration.

Toyota said vehicles that would get brake override include model year 2005-10 Tacoma pickups, 2009-10 Venza crossovers and 2008-10 Sequoia SUVs.

Toyota previously announced that the system would be installed in 2007-10 Camrys, 2005-10 Avalons, and the 2007-10 Lexus ES 350 sedan, 2006-10 IS 350 and 2006-10 IS 250 models.

The automaker said in a statement that the brake override feature was not an integral part of its recall fix, which aims to reduce the risk of gas pedal entrapment by redesigning or fixing the pedals and adjusting the floor of the car to increase the clearance.

Brake override is being offered as an extra measure of confidence for Toyota owners, the company said.

It will be installed on Tacoma and Venza models while the recall modifications are performed. Sequoia owners will be notified separately from the recall for potentially sticky pedals.

Brake override will be included in most models sold in the U.S. by the end of 2010, Toyota said.

From The Detroit News: http://detroitnews.com/article/20100223/AUTO01/2230359/1148/Toyota-extends-brake-failsafe-fix-to-more-models#ixzz0gMlIFoQS

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