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Toyota: 1.7M recalled vehicles repaired

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Toyota: 1.7M recalled vehicles repaired

David Shepardson / Detroit News Washington Bureau

New York -- Toyota's U.S. sales chief said today that the company has repaired 1.7 million vehicles in two massive recalls.

Jim Lentz, head of Toyota Motor USA Sales, told reporters on the sidelines of a forum here that the company is still adamant that electronics are not to blame for any of the thousands of sudden unintended acceleration incidents that have been reported to federal regulators.

He praised the Transportation Department's decision to bring in outside experts from NASA and the National Academy of Sciences to review the problems of unintended acceleration and whether electronics or electromagnetic radiation play a role.

"We'd love if they come up with something," Lentz said. "It's not in our best interest to not find a problem if there is a problem. But we've got 40 million of these vehicles that we have produced and we have not found a problem with the electronics."

Lentz said 1.2 million of the 1.9 million vehicles recalled for pedal entrapment issue have been fixed -- and about 20 percent of all vehicles recalled have been fixed. Lentz defended the company's performance despite the fact that 100 customers of the 1.7 million vehicles repaired have filed new complaints.

Most of the complaints for repaired vehicles "are a drivability issue," he said. "Right now with all the hype around this, customers are concerned. They are hearing sounds, they are feeling surges."

He said that in a couple of cases the repairs weren't done properly -- "some of the carpeting didn't go down quite right," Lentz said. "We changed the process."

In its recall of 5.3 million vehicles for pedal entrapment, Toyota is shrinking pedals and in some cases removing the carpeting and reshaping the floor surface. It is also replacing floor mats and installing brake override systems.

Lentz also said the company is no closer to making a decision on whether to recall the 2009-2010 Corolla.

NHTSA opened an investigation last month after it received 160 steering complaints on the newer Corollas. The investigation covers 499,000 2009 and 2010 model Corollas.

Many of the complaints report that vehicles unexpectedly veered sharply at highway speeds of 40 miles per hour and above. At least 10 injuries have been alleged.

From The Detroit News:


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