DETROIT (AP) _ The U.S. government has upgraded an investigation
into the 2007 Lexus ES 350 sedan after at least 12 people were
injured when the vehicle accelerated without warning.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a
report issued this week that an all-weather floor mat can trap the
throttle pedal when it's not properly secured, resulting in unwanted
acceleration. The all-weather floor mat has been found in a majority
of the vehicles that reported the problem, NHTSA said.
Toyota Motor Corp. told NHTSA it sent a mailing to ES 350 owners
in late April warning them about improper installation of the
all-weather floor mat. The mat should be secured with clips and
shouldn't be placed over the standard floor mat. Toyota also said it
changed the labelling on the floor mat.
NHTSA is now deciding whether Toyota's actions were sufficient.
Vehicle investigations can lead to product recalls. There are 98,454
ES 350 sedans on the road.
Lexus spokesman Greg Thome said because the investigation is
ongoing, it's too early to say whether floor mats are definitely
causing the alleged defect. Thome said owners should call the
company's customer service number if they have questions.
NHTSA and Toyota have received 40 complaints about unintended
acceleration, NHTSA said. Eight crashes have been reported,
including one that caused a seven-vehicle pileup. In some cases,
drivers travelled several kilometres at speeds of more than 145 km/h
before they were able to stop, NHTSA said.
Note: The Lexus Customer Service Line can be reached at