by Michael Harley
In an effort to stem the flow of potentially defective accelerator pedal parts at the source, Toyota announced earlier this week that replacement pedal components had begun shipping directly to its factories. While the announcement was a welcome step in the right direction towards a long-term resolution, Toyota retail dealers – face-to-face with millions of concerned customers seeking a fix – were understandably angered that the automaker had apparently left them out of the loop.
That changed late Friday, when Toyota announced that gas pedal parts had started shipping directly to the dealers too. Brian Lyons, Toyota company spokesman, said the parts "are on their way to the dealers in preparation for the recall launch." The so-called "recall launch" will be more clearly defined next week when the automaker officially announces how it intends to solve the problems potentially affecting 4.2 million of its vehicles worldwide.
Right now, Toyota's "solution" (reportedly involving shims) is being reviewed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Toyota presented it to NHTSA on Thursday – which must approve it before the automaker moves forward. Even then, Toyota will need to train dealers and mechanics on how to make the repairs and educate vehicle owners on the process.