Toyota issued a recall covering 2.3 million late model cars, SUVs and pickup trucks Thursday, broadening its largest such action ever and acknowledging that potential accelerator pedal problems were deeper than previously acknowledged.
The automaker previously recalled about 4.2 million Toyota and Lexus vehicles to reduce the risk of pedal "entrapment" caused by floor mats, according to a news release issued by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. About 1.7 million Toyota vehicles are subject to both recalls, the company said.
“In recent months, Toyota has investigated isolated reports of sticking accelerator pedal mechanisms in certain vehicles without the presence of floor mats,” Toyota group Vice President Irv Miller said in the statement.
In "rare instances" the accelerator pedal may stick in a partially depressed position or return slowly to the idle position, he said.
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Toyota previously had maintained there was no evidence of a mechanical fault linked to reported bursts of unintended acceleration that prompted the original recall last year.
As recently as November, Bob Carter, Toyota's U.S. brand chief, said there was "no evidence" to support claims that the reported safety problems could be caused by anything other than loose floor mats interfering with the accelerator pedal.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had received reports of 100 incidents at the time of Toyota's first recall. Those reports included 17 crashes and five fatalities possibly linked to floor mats and accelerator pedals in Toyota cars and trucks.
One of those crashes involved a Lexus that accelerated to more than 120 mph before crashing in San Diego, killing four people.
The safety stumbles have dinged Toyota's reputation in the U.S. as a builder of dependable, high-quality cars. Last year's recall was the sixth-largest ever in the United States.
Vehicles affected by the latest recall are:
• 2009-2010 RAV4
• 2009-2010 Corolla
• 2009-2010 Matrix
• 2005-2010 Avalon
• 2007-2010 Camry
• 2010 Highlander
• 2007-2010 Tundra
• 2008-2010 Sequoia
The previous recall affected Camry and Avalon sedans, the Prius hybrid, the Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks, and the luxury Lexus models IS250, IS350 and ES350.
Toyota said concerned customers could call its Customer Experience Center at 1-800-331-4331.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.