WASHINGTON - (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its dealersshould get parts to fix a sticky gas pedal problem by the end thisweek as the automaker apologized to Toyota owners and tries tobring an end to a recall that has affected 4.2 million vehiclesworldwide.
The company said in a statement that it has begun shipping partsand is training dealers on the repairs. Some dealers will stay open24 hours to fix the 2.3 million cars and trucks affected by therecall in the U.S.
Technical bulletins on how to install the new parts shouldarrive at dealers by midweek, the company told dealers in ane-mail. It was not clear exactly when repairs would start, althoughdealers have said they'll begin as soon as possible.
The automaker also said Monday it would suspend production ofeight U.S. models affected by the recall for this week. The companysuspended sales of the models last week until repairs can be made.
Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota MotorSales, said in the statement that nothing is more important thancustomer safety.
Engineers traced the problem to a friction device in theassembly that is supposed to provide the proper pedal "feel" byadding resistance, Toyota said in a statement.
The device has a shoe that rubs against a nearby metal surfaceduring normal pedal use. But wear and environmental conditions canover time cause the pedals to not operate smoothly or in rare casesstick partially open.
The company said a steel reinforcement bar will be installedinto the gas pedal assembly, reducing the friction.