by ilene - January 27th, 2010 3:57 am
Toyota suspended U.S. sales of some of its most popular vehicles — including the best-selling car in America, the Camry — to fix sticking gas pedals that could make the cars accelerate without warning.
In another blow to the world’s No. 1 automaker, Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it would halt some production at six assembly plants beginning the week of Feb. 1 "to assess and coordinate activities."
The company said it would stop selling eight models of cars and trucks, a significant portion of its fleet. The suspension comes after a recall of the same models last week involving 2.3 million vehicles.
Toyota has said it was unaware of any accidents or injuries due to the pedal problems associated with the recall, but could not rule them out for sure.
"This action is necessary until a remedy is finalized," said Bob Carter, Toyota’s group vice president and general manager.
The Japanese automaker said the sales suspension includes the following models: the 2009-2010 RAV4, the 2009-2010 Corolla, the 2007-2010 Camry, the 2009-2010 Matrix, the 2005-2010 Avalon, the 2010 Highlander, the 2007-2010 Tundra and the 2008-2010 Sequoia.
Some dealers suggested taking vehicles to dealerships for inspections if people have safety concerns.
Aaron Bragman, an auto analyst for the consulting firm IHS Global Insight in Troy, Mich., said Toyota typically sells about 65,000 Camrys and Corollas a month, and the frozen sales could strike at the company’s bottom line and reputation for quality.
"That’s huge if they can’t sell these and they don’t have a fix identified. They need to go and get a solution to this fast," Bragman said.
Toyota sold more than 34,000 Camrys in December, making the midsize sedan America’s best-selling car. It commands 3.4 percent of the U.S. market and sales rose 38 percent from a year earlier. Sales of the Corolla and Matrix, a small sedan and a hatchback, totaled 34,220 last month, making up 3.3 percent of the market and sales up nearly 55 percent from December of 2008.