WASHINGTON - (AP) - Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will recall3.8 million vehicles in the United States, the company'slargest-ever U.S. recall, to address problems with a removablefloor mat that could cause accelerators to get stuck and lead to acrash.
The recall will involve popular models such as the Toyota Camry,the top-selling passenger car in America, and the Toyota Prius, thebest-selling gas-electric hybrid.
Toyota said it was still working with officials with theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration to find a remedy tofix the problem and said owners could be notified about the recallas early as next week. Toyota spokesman Irv Miller said until thecompany finds a fix, owners should take out the removable floor maton the driver's side and not replace it.
"A stuck open accelerator pedal may result in very high vehiclespeeds and make it difficult to stop a vehicle, which could cause acrash, serious injury or death," Miller said.
Toyota and the government issued separate warnings to owners ofToyota and Lexus vehicles about the safety problems tied to thefloor mats.
"This is an urgent matter," Transportation Secretary RayLaHood said in a statement. "For everyone's sake, we strongly urgeowners of these vehicles to remove mats or other obstacles thatcould lead to unintended acceleration."
The recall will affect 2007-2010 model year Toyota Camry,2005-2010 Toyota Avalon, 2004-2009 Toyota Prius, 2005-2010 Tacoma,2007-2010 Toyota Tundra, 2007-2010 Lexus ES350 and 2006-2010 LexusIS250 and IS350.
Toyota's previously largest U.S. recall was about 900,000vehicles in 2005 to fix a steering issue. The company declined tosay how many complaints it had received about the acceleratorissue.
NHTSA said it had received reports of 102 incidents in which theaccelerator may have become stuck on the Toyota vehicles involved.
The Japanese automaker warned owners that if they think theirvehicle is accelerating out of control, they should check to seewhether their floor mat is under the pedal. If a driver can'tremove the floor mat, Toyota advises drivers to step on the brakepedal with both feet until the vehicle slows and then try to put itinto neutral and switch the ignition to accessory power.
For vehicles with engine start/stop buttons, Toyota said theengine can be shut off by holding the button down for threeseconds.
The safety concern was prompted by a fiery crash in Californiathat killed four family members in August near San Diego. The crashkilled California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Saylor, 45, and threeothers on State Route 125 in Santee.
The runaway car was traveling at more than 120 mph when it hit asport utility vehicle, launched off an embankment, rolled severaltimes and burst into flames.
In mid-September, Toyota ordered 1,400 Toyota and Lexus dealersnationwide to ensure that each new, used and loaner vehicles hadthe proper floor mats and that the mats were properly secured.
In September 2007, Toyota recalled an accessory all-weatherfloor mat sold for use in some 2007 and 2008 model year Lexus ES350 and Toyota Camry vehicles because of similar problems.
For more information, consumers can contact the National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration's hotline at (888) 327-4236, Toyotaat (800) 331-4331 or Lexus at (800) 255-3987.