Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Demands Toyota Tell Consumers Whether Recalled Vehicles Are Safe To Drive

Janaury 29, 2010

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has demanded that Toyota state whether recalled vehicles are safe to drive and provide additional information.

Blumenthal said, "Consumers calling my office are understandably confused and fearful about whether their Toyotas are safe to drive."

Toyota recalled and suspended sales of eight models produced between 2005 and 2010 because of accelerators that sometimes stick. In addition to Toyota, Blumenthal wrote the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and CTS Corporation of Elkhart, IN., which reportedly made the components in question.

Toyota has said that the defect is "rare," but failed to definitively tell consumers whether vehicles showing signs of the defect are safe. The company has failed even to tell consumers how to determine without driving it whether a vehicle has the defect.

Blumenthal said, "Vehicles with this defect are potentially deadly, reportedly causing unintended accelerations that can cause crashes resulting in injury or death.

"Toyota's communications to consumers have been inadequate -- both incomplete and vague. The company has failed to definitively answer anxious owners' most pressing question: is my vehicle safe to drive? Lives may depend on the answer, and I am demanding the company provide one immediately -- covering towing charges if vehicles are unsafe to operate.

"The company says the defect is 'rare,' but provides no guidance on inspecting a vehicle for the flaw in advance. The only way to find out: Drive it. I am demanding Toyota inform consumers whether and if so how they or their mechanic can determine if their vehicle is at risk.

"The company must fix this serious and significant defect as quickly as possible -- and at no cost to consumers.

"My office is demanding Toyota explain the defect in detail, when it was discovered, how it will be fixed and how long repairs will take. Parts manufacturer CTS must provide similar information, ensuring that this potentially fatal flaw is fully and finally repaired.

"I am asking the company to outline any assistance for dealers stuck with unsalable vehicles and repairs to recalled vehicles, as well as those on sales lots or in transit. The company must take reasonable, responsible and appropriate steps to help its dealers weather this recall and sales suspension storm."

Blumenthal's questions include:

  • Are the recalled vehicles safe to drive or should consumers have them towed to dealerships for repair? If they are unsafe, will Toyota pay towing costs? Is there a simple way for consumers or mechanics to determine whether a vehicle is safe to drive?

  • What exactly is the problem?

  • When did Toyota learn of the defect, how will it be fixed and what steps is the company taking to repair it? What is Toyota's repair and remediation plan? How long can consumers expect it to take to repair their vehicles?

  • How long will dealerships be unable to sell affected models and what steps is Toyota taking to mitigate the resulting impact on dealerships?

  • What steps is Toyota taking to fix vehicles already on dealer lots or in transit from the factory to the showroom?

The recalled vehicles are: 2009-2010 RAV4s, 2009-2010 Corollas, 2009-2010 Matrixes, 2005-2010 Avalons, certain 2007-2010 Camrys, 2010 Highlanders, 2007-2010 Tundras and 2008-2010 Sequoias.