Posted in: Safety,
by Gregg Laskoski on Feb 5, 2014 02:30 PM
Toyota Motor Corp. has told North American dealers to stop selling eight models equipped with seat heaters made since August 2012 after being alerted by South Korean safety officials that material in the part did not meet fire retardation standards also used in the United States.
The automaker said the affected vehicles are certain 2013 and 2014 Camry sedan, Camry hybrid, Avalon sedan, Avalon hybrid, Corolla subcompact, Sienna minivan and Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks equipped with seat heaters that were sold since August 2012, when the fabric supplier was changed, the company said.
The models are among the company's most popular cars and light trucks sold in the United States, but only about 8 percent of 2013-2014 Toyota vehicles in the U.S. have heated seats, according to Kelly Blue Book figures. All Toyota Avalons in the U.S. have heated seats, Kelly Blue Book said.
The number of vehicles in U.S. dealer stocks subject to the stop sale order is approximately 36,000, according to a document Toyota distributed to dealers and obtained by Automotive News.
Some 13,850 Avalon sedan models from 2013 and 2014, and 10,100 Sienna minivans from 2013 and 2014, in dealer inventory are subject to the stop sale order, the document shows.
Toyota said some vehicles in transit to dealerships may also be covered by the order.
Toyota said it has alerted U.S. safety officials about the seating problem, which could result in a recall depending on what the safety agency decides.
Toyota spokesman John Hanson said the company informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the issue and would file an official report outlining the non-compliance with the standard. He added that Toyota did not feel a recall was necessary.
"We don't believe that it is a defect issue or a safety-related issue because there has been no occurrence of any problems out in the real world," Hanson said.
There have been no reports of accidents, fires or injuries related to the issue in the affected vehicles in the United States, Canada or Mexico, he said.