Toyota Halts Some Vehicle Sales over Seat Heater Woes
Toyota announced yesterday that it has issued a stop sale of certain models to address a non-compliance issue with seat heaters. The following models equipped with heated seats from the 2013 and 2014 model years are affected by the stop sale: Corolla, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Avalon, Avalon Hybrid, Camry and Camry Hybrid.
In a statement, Toyota says that “the seat heater, which is a small portion of the soft materials of the seat assembly,” doesn’t meet a federal stipulation "requiring materials to retard flame at a specified rate." The automaker says it is working on a fix for any affected vehicles that are currently in dealership inventory. According to Toyota, there have been no reports of any problems related to this issue. No recalls have been issued as of yet for vehicles that have already been purchased.
This problem does not arise at a good time for Toyota. Kelley Blue Book Senior Analyst Karl Brauer explains, "Given that much of the U.S. is currently in the grips of a record cold snap there’s sure to be high demand for models with seat heaters." According to KBB.com data, 37.8 percent of 2013 and 2014 Toyota models listed for sale are equipped with heated seats.
The Associated Press spoke with John Hanson, a Toyota spokesman, who says it shouldn't be a problem for current owners of affected vehicles, as there have been no related incidents reported. Hanson says that it shouldn't take long to get the new parts and remedy the issue. He notes that vehicles at the factory are already being installed with the new, federally-compliant seat heater material. There is currently no word on when the stop sale will be lifted.
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