Toyota has had its share of problems recently with the sudden, unexplained acceleration in some of its vehicles that led to a recall of 4 million vehicles. While the floor mat was initially blamed, Toyota will add additional safety features to prevent the accelerator and brake from applying at the same time as part of the fix.
The company is facing another federal safety probe. Now regulators are trying to understand why Corolla and Matrix cars from model year 2006 are experiencing engine stalling problems. That can occur even at highway speeds and intersections. The 1ZZ-FE engines are named specifically.
The Corolla is a top seller for Toyota, ranking fifth among all vehicle sales this year.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched the investigation November 30 after it received 26 complaints from drivers. Neither model is included in the previous recall of 4.2 million cars.
NHTSA is looking at a defective auto part problem regarding the electronic control module or onboard computer which was the subject of a service bulletin two years ago. Consumer Reports finds Toyota leads NHTSA adverse event reports for all 2008 models.
All of the bad news is hurting sales which are down 24 percent through November. Meanwhile, Honda and Ford have gained in the market.
Sources: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2009/12/investigation-launched-into-engine-stalls-in-2006-toyota-corollas/1; http://blogs.consumerreports.org/cars/2009/12/sudden-unintended-acceleration-sua-analysis-2008-toyota-lexus-ford-gm.html