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Feb. 3 2010 - 2:35 pm | 1,956 views | 0 recommendations | 2 comments

The biggest recall ever – and no, it’s not Toyota

LOS ANGELES - APRIL 24:  (FILE) The Sun shines...

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At approximately 9 million vehicles (and counting), the Toyota recall to correct complaints of unintended acceleration is getting worse every day.  Confusingly, this is actually a combination of two separate recalls:  one to replace floor mats which could jam the gas pedal (announced November 25, 2009), and another to correct a mechanical part in the pedal assembly itself (January 21, 2010).

More and more vehicles are being added to the recall list and, if you own a Toyota, Lexus, or Scion vehicle, it’s a good idea to keep updated via www.toyota.com/recall, or call the service department of your local Toyota dealership.  Provide the the make and model year of your car – along with the VIN, a 17-digit number which can be found at the base of the windshield – to see if your vehicle is part of the recall.

Toyota’s problems are mounting but, believe it or not, the Japanese auto giant is still well short of the largest automotive recall ever.  That dubious honor goes to Ford Motor Company, which recalled more than 14 million vehicles to correct a faulty cruise control switch.  This switch could overheat and lead to a fire, even when the car is not running.

Addressing concerns over fires, Ford is conducting a recall of 4.5 million vehicles in the United States equipped with speed control deactivation switches from Texas Instruments. The switches have already been the subject of six recalls.

Recalls began in 1999 and covered some 10 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles from 1992 to 2004.

This means that more than 14 million Ford vehicles have been recalled for this problem, a record number for a single problem, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The earlier recalls involved the Texas Instruments cruise-control deactivation switch, which was powered at all times and could develop a short circuit. That could cause a vehicle to catch fire even while it was parked and the ignition was off.

(via The New York Times)

Knowing it remains roughly 5 million vehicles short of a recall record is likely to be no source of comfort for Toyota.  Plummeting share prices, shuttered factories and idled dealerships – not to mention a reputation for quality and dependability that might never return – could signal a seismic change in the automotive landscape.


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    About Me

    I'm an automotive journalist based in New York City and a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Edmunds.com, Gaywheels.com, CarandDriver.com, Bimmer magazine and many other well-respected publications.

    I recently spent nearly 5 years in the wilds of Paris, France, where I was reporting about the European and Indian automotive world. But no matter where I am, there is always a great car story waiting to be told.

    I've poked my head under the hood of a New Delhi taxicab, worked the pits at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and driven 197-mph on the German autobahn.

    Now that I'm back in the U.S. - along with Matthew, my partner of 10 years - it's thrilling to get reacquainted with N.Y.C. and American car culture.

    I love my job no matter if I'm driving some jaw-dropping exotic car or, much more likely, hunting for a parking spot in my downtown neighborhood.

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