Toyota issues stop sale on 6 key models over seat fabrics; recall possible? [UPDATE]Thu, 30 Jan 2014 13:30:00 EST
Toyota has issued a stop-sale order on six of its core models due to concerns about the flammability of certain seat fabrics. The issue rests not with the cloth and leather covers themselves, but with a piece of seat heater beneath them that fails to meet US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for flame retardancy.
There have been no reports of fires or injuries from the affected cars, which include some of Toyota's biggest volume sellers. 2013 and 2014 Camry, Camry Hybrid, Avalon and Sienna models equipped with heated seats are included in the stop-sale, as are 2014 Tundra pickups and Corolla sedans. The exact number of vehicles with the non-compliant materials are still being tabulated, according to The Detroit Free Press.
According to a Toyota spokesman, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been notified, although it remains to be seen if a recall will be issued. Outside of a full recall, though, it's unclear how Toyota will deal with vehicles equipped with the flammable materials that have already found homes.
In the meantime, Toyota is reportedly developing a fix for those vehicle still sitting on dealer lots.
UPDATE: 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.
UPDATE II: Toyota has released an official statement on the stop sale. You can read it below.
Seat Heater Non-Compliance Issue Creates Temporary Stop Sale On Certain Toyota Models
January 30, 2014
Toyota has informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that it has initiated a stop sale of certain Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma and Tundra vehicles equipped with seat heaters in order to address a non-compliance issue.
In involved vehicles, the seat heater, which is a small portion of the soft materials of the seat assembly, does not meet a provision of U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) requiring materials to retard flame at a specified rate. Toyota is preparing a modification for this condition, which will be implemented on all covered vehicles in dealer inventory.
There have been no reports globally of any related incidents in the field with units in operation. Per NHTSA regulations, Toyota will file a Non-Compliance Information Report today.
By Brandon Turkus
See also: Toyota TRD Pro lineup coming next week, Details about next-gen Toyota Prius emerge, Scion trying to build business case for FR-S convertible as Subaru bows out.