Toyota has told North American dealers to stop selling certain models made since August 2012 because of a fire risk from the seat heaters, Automotive News (AN) reports. Toyota made the announcement on Thursday after being notified by South Korean safety officials that the seat material in those vehicles did not meet U.S. flammability standards.
The affected vehicles include certain models of 2013 and 2014 Camry sedans, Camry hybrids, Avalon sedans, Avalon hybrids, Corolla subcompacts, Sienna minivans, and Tundra and Tacoma pickup trucks equipped with seat heaters sold since August 2012, when there was a change in the supplier of seat fabric, AN writes. As Nathan Bomey notes in the Detroit Free Press, “The Camry was the best selling car in the U.S. last year, while the Corolla was the fifth best.”
AN provides details of the halt:
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.
Only those vehicles made in Toyota’s U.S. plants are affected, writes Chris Woodyard writes for USA Today. Toyota spokesman John Hanson said that Toyota has not received any complaints from anywhere in the world about fires in seats in the affected models, Woodyard writes. Hanson said he does not anticipate a recall of affected vehicles already sold to the public, but that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will be making a decision about how to proceed. Woodyard writes that Hanson had no specific number for how many vehicles are affected but said it numbers in the thousands. Repairs on the outstanding vehicles are expected to begin soon.
In an article for Autoblog, Brandon Turkus writes:
John Hanson, National Manager, Environmental, Quality, and Safety Communications for Lexus, has confirmed to Autoblog that no Lexus models are affected by this seat fabric issue. We have not yet heard back from Scion, but we’ll update this post as soon as we do.
It’s not clear how many of the affected models are in Colorado, but the state has had other issues with Toyota. As this blog reported, in February 2013, as a result of a lawsuit against Toyota for unintended acceleration in certain Toyota and Lexis models, more than $650,000 of Toyota Motor Company’s $29 million multi-state settlement went to Colorado.