Toyota Motor Corp will fix the accelerator pedals in 4 million cars and trucks to address a safety issue linked to sudden acceleration and a number of deadly accidents, the company and the U.S. government said on Wednesday.
The action, which represents the largest-ever U.S. safety recall by the Japanese automaker, aims to address the risk that floormats in the vehicles become loose and trap the accelerator pedal on some of Toyota's most popular models including the Camry and hybrid Prius.
Toyota had initially urged owners to remove floormats in affected vehicles but announced that it would reconfigure and replace accelerator pedals after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In addition, Toyota said it would install a new brake override system on five models starting next year that will cut power to the engine when the brake pedal is applied, even if the accelerator is also engaged.
The massive recall represents a threat to Toyota's safety image at a time when the automaker is struggling to return to profitability after being hit by an industry-wide sales slump and missteps tied to its own rapid expansion.
In August, an off-duty California state trooper and three members of his family were killed in a crash near San Diego when the Lexus ES350 he was driving accelerated out of control. A floormat pressing against the accelerator pedal is suspected as a factor in the crash.