Toyota Is Tackling Potentially Flammable Fabric Issues
Toyota (NYSE:TM) is issuing a temporary halt on sales for six of its models being sold in the U.S. due to issues with the fabric used in the seats equipped with heaters that reportedly doesn’t meet federal requirements regarding flammability. The pause on sales affects 36,000 individual vehicles, ranging from the 2013-2014 model year Avalon to the Avalon Hybrid, the Camry and Camry Hybrid, the Sienna, the Tacoma, and the 2014 Corolla and Tundra, according to Toyota spokesman John Hanson, who spoke to the Detroit News.
To be clear, Toyota has not yet issued a recall for the affected vehicles, nor has the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ordered Toyota to take action — at least, so far. The company alerted the NHTSA of the non-compliance via a formal report on Wednesday and will be filing a petition asking the government to label the issue “inconsequential,” which would allow the vehicles to be sold without repair and thus avoid a recall, the Detroit News reports.
Notably, the company would not be selling the potentially hazardous products until it found a replacement fabric and the dealers had made the necessary repairs. While recalls are usually spurred by customer complaints or reports of problems, this particular problem was discovered during testing by the South Korean government. Toyota had previously tested the seat as a whole and determined it met the requirements, according to the Detroit News.
Toyota is currently developing a new fabric with which to make the switch, but the NHTSA could take weeks — or maybe months — before issuing a decision on the petition. No fires have been reported as a result just yet, so Toyota’s move to replace the fabric is so far a precautionary measure.
The 36,000 vehicles do not include vehicles that have been sold and models not mentioned previously (the Prius, for example) are exempt from Toyota’s latest product quality issue. It is also only pertinent to cars and trucks manufactured in the United States and those models of which were exported into Canada.
Hanson confirmed to Autoblog that no Lexus models are affected by the issue.