Toyota fixing gas pedals and PR

Toyota emblem

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Toyota says dealers will get the parts needed to fix sticking gas pedals. That's the cause for accelerated recalls and a stop in production and sales in the U.S. last week of eight popular models. Marketplace's Amy Scott is with us live from our New York Bureau with details. Good morning, Amy.

Amy Scott: Good morning.

Chiotakis: So what is this fix?

Scott: Well the problem stemmed from friction in the gas pedal assembly that could cause the pedal to stick. And the solution that Toyota has come up with is a steel reinforcement bar that the company
says will reduce that friction. It's sending parts to dealers this week and some of them apparently will be open 24 hours a day to get these cars fixed.

Chiotakis: Mmm. All right now Amy, is this enough to get Toyota back on track?

Scott: Well the company is also launching a big PR campaign. The president of its U.S. division, Jim Lentz, was on the Today Show this morning on NBC, and Matt Lauer grilled him about the company's response:

Matt Lauer: Did Toyota drag its feet? Knowing it had a serious problem,
potentially life-threatening problem, did your company drag its feet?

Jim Lentz: No, I don't believe we did.

Of course Toyota and its dealers are losing millions of dollars on this recall, as well as a previous recall involving floor mats that can push down the accelorator. Competitors are seizing on these problems by offering incentives to trade in Toyotas, so it's not going to be an easy fix.

Chiotakis: Marketplace's Amy Scott in New York. Amy, thanks.

Scott: You're welcome.

About the author

Amy Scott is Marketplace’s education correspondent covering the K-12 and higher education beats, as well as general business and economic stories.

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