By 2011, all new Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles sold globally will have updated software installed on vehicle engine control units (ECU) that puts in place a brake override system, said Toyota spokesperson Mike Michels. This system will automatically idle vehicles when the brake and throttle are simultaneously depressed. The installation of the system is the latest attempt by the manufacturer to address issues of unintended acceleration that have recently come to light and triggered an approximately 4.2 million vehicle recall of Lexus and Toyota models in the United States.
In a statement released on November 25, 2009, Toyota outlined the details of the recall campaign that addressed both the shape of the brake pedals and method of securing the all-weather floormats in the eight Lexus and Toyota models. Letters to owners of these affected vehicles were mailed starting December 31, 2009. Michels had the following details on the status of this recall:
"Letters have started to go out...but we expect it will take many months to send them all, so owners shouldn't be alarmed if they don't get a letter right away and shouldn't feel they need to rush over to their dealer. As long as they remove their current floor mats as an interim measure, there is no risk of pedal entrapment."
As to what owners can expect from the recall, Michels had this to say: "All vehicles will get a reshaped pedal design and a new all-weather floormat. Carpet floormats are not an issue and there is no need to replace them. The all-weather mat is the issue and the replacement is designed to be reversible side to side, upside down and even when on top of the carpet mat, (which we still strongly discourage). If the customer owns all-weather mats, we will exchange for a complete set at no charge. And of course the new mat will become the standard item for sale. To be sure the old mats don't remain in use or are resold, we are going to recover them and recycle them."
In addition, five of the eight recalled vehicles will get the brake override system installed as well. "Camry, Avalon, ES 350, IS 250, and IS 350 will get brake override reflash and recountoured pad under carpet under pedal (driver's heel area)," said Michels. "Tundra, Tacoma and Prius are still under development."